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PENNSYLVANIA MOTOR TRUCK ASSN. v. PORT OF PHILADEL

May 19, 1960

PENNSYLVANIA MOTOR TRUCK ASSOCIATION et al.,
v.
PORT OF PHILADELPHIA MARINE TERMINAL ASSOCIATION et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: LORD

This is an equity proceeding in which the plaintiff and defendant by their respective applications for a Preliminary Injunction and a Motion to Dismiss, have brought the following issues before the Court: (1) Does the Court have jurisdiction to enjoin the sudden imposition by pier operators of a compulsory truck loading and unloading regulation which abrogates a long standing practice of truckers' choice in the Port of Philadelphia, where the only relief sought is the maintenance of the status quo pending an administrative determination on the merits of the regulation by the Federal Maritime Board?; and (2) Assuming such jurisdiction, upon a balancing of the equities, has the plaintiff shown that irreparable harm will result without injunctive relief?

 The City of Philadelphia has appeared in these proceedings as amicus curiae. In this regard, the City is rightly concerned with the smooth and continued flow of cargo into and through the Port of Philadelphia. Further, not only does the City have an investment of approximately $ 50,000,000 in the Port of Philadelphia, but it is also deeply concerned with port operations as they affect industrial development, and the economic well-being of thousands of its citizens.

 Federal Maritime Board Agreement No. 8425 and Terminal Tariff No. 1

 Believing that marine terminal operations in the Port of Philadelphia might best be managed by the establishment of uniform rates and practices, seventeen members of the defendant association submitted an Agreement to the Federal Maritime Board for approval on August 13, 1959. The Agreement, submitted in accordance with § 15 of the Shipping Act of 1916, as amended, was finally approved by the Board on December 21, 1959, as Federal Maritime Board Agreement No. 8425. The Agreement, as approved, exempts the seventeen signatories thereto from the operation of the anti-trust laws of the United States. 46 U.S.C.A. § 814.

 As pertinent to practices relating to the loading and unloading of trucks at marine terminals in the Port of Philadelphia, Agreement No. 8425 provides:

 'Third: this agreement shall cover the following subject matters and all services, facilities, rates, and charges incidental thereto: wharfage, dockage, railroad carloading and railroad car unloading, lighterage loading and lighterage unloading, truck loading and truck unloading, free time, and wharf demurrage.'

 Following the approval of the Agreement, conferences were held by the seventeen signatories who are all members of the defendant association. As a result of these meetings, 'Terminal Tariff No. 1' was promulgated. Section VII (5) of this tariff contains the disputed provision which initiated this litigation. It provides:

 '(5) Right to Load or Unload Trucks:

 'All truck loading and unloading at any pier or waterfront terminal operated by a participating Terminal Operator in the Port of Philadelphia who is a party to this Tariff shall be performed solely by such Terminal Operator, his agents, servants and employees at the rates and subject to the rules, regulations and practices contained in this Tariff.

 'The trucker, shipper or consignee shall provide a truck or other vehicle which is adequate and suitable for safe loading or unloading.'

 Terminal Tariff No. 1 was formally filed with the Federal Maritime Board on March 31, 1960. On the same date, March 31, 1960, the tariff was for the first time distributed to parties in interest and this date likewise constituted the first public notice of the promulgation of the compulsory truck loading and unloading requirement.

 The tariff became effective April 1, 1960.

 Jurisidiction

 On the effective date of the tariff, April 1, 1960, the plaintiff filed complaint with the Federal Maritime Board charging, inter alia, that defendant's tariff violates the provisions of the Shipping Act of 1916, as amended. Defendant has filed an answer to plaintiff's complaint and both parties have requested an immediate disposition of the controversy by the Board.

 In this posture of the case, the prayer of plaintiff's Complaint, is as follows:

 'That this Court enter an injunction directing defendants to cancel and withdraw their exclusive loading and unloading rule as contained in subparagraph 5, Section VII, and to permit motor carriers and shippers to load and unload their vehicles on waterfront terminals maintained by defendant Terminal Operators as such practice existed prior to March 1959, and to maintain (the) status quo pending action by the Federal Maritime Board on the Complaint now pending before it.'

 The plaintiff likewise alleges that irreparable harm will result to it and its members unless such equitable relief as prayed for in the Complaint is afforded. This aspect ...


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