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            october 23, 2019

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LA Port Authority sued for breaking agreement to build new terminal


A company based in Los Angeles is suing the city's port authority, after it claimed the port improperly terminated an agreement to negotiate the development of a US$130 million container terminal at the harbour.
Failure to secure support for the project from the union representing dockworkers led to the decision to terminate the planned facility, according to the lawsuit.
In a 15-page complaint filed in LA Superior Court, Harbour Performance Enhancement Centre alleges that it spent four years and $2 million on its planned facility at Terminal Island that would use a "hub and spoke" model to store and access shipping containers at the site, reported Los Angeles Times.
Port officials supported the project, according to the lawsuit, and granted the company an exclusive negotiating agreement. However, last month the port of LA's executive director Gene Seroka told the company that the facility was "infeasible", but failed to provide a reason as to why.
The lawsuit names the port of Los Angeles, the Board of Harbour Commissioners and the city of LA, and asks a judge to overturn the decision.
The company's lawsuit states it started working with the port on the proposed facility in 2015. It received a permit for a pilot study, conducted an environmental review on the site and secured $130 million in financing.
In 2018, Mr Seroka told the company it also needed to gain support from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) for the project to go ahead, according to the lawsuit. The union represents 10,000 workers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
"The company would have to guarantee to grant the union jurisdiction and exclusive rights to provide trucking services," according to the lawsuit.
"Rather than help mediate with the ILWU or insist that the ILWU negotiate in good faith, executive director Seroka, in April 2018, advised petitioners in writing that they must accommodate the ILWU's demands because 'they [ILWU] run the port,'" the suit states.

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