The bankruptcy estate of Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. has filed a complaint with the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission against Swiss-based MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, accusing the shipping giant of pandemic profiteering in violating the Shipping Act of 1984.
The complaint alleges that MSC, the world’s largest shipping company, took advantage of price inflation during the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to increased freight costs and ultimately forcing Bed Bath & Beyond to file for bankruptcy. The complaint alleges that MSC systematically failed to meet agreed service commitments and unfairly allocated space to higher-priced cargo to maximize its own profits. This forced Bed, Bath & Beyond to seek space on the spot market at exorbitant costs which contributed to its bankruptcy filing in April.
The complaint also asserts that MSC’s actions were not limited to failing service commitments. The shipping company also imposed demurrage and detention charges on shippers, despite circumstances beyond their control, such as port congestion and equipment shortages. Bed Bath & Beyond insists that MSC’s practices were deliberate and not due to any external constraints.
MSC’s practices, according to the complaint, resulted in financial damages to Bed Bath & Beyond and other shippers. The lawsuit seeks reparations for damages reportedly amounting to more than $300 million.
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