Judge dismisses shipping companies' complaint
FROM THE MM&D MARCH/APRIL 2012 PRINT EDITION:
The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority can continue to charge Gateway Infrastructure Fees (GIF) to vessel owners in respect of containerized cargo, according to a decision by a Federal Court judge.
The port had been taken to court by 12 shipping companies, including Mediterranean Shipping Company (Canada) and Maersk Canada Inc, and the Shipping Federation of Canada.
The applicants argued the VFPA had no authority to charge the fee because it was unfair and unreasonable, the charge was a tax, not a fee, and as cargo vessel owners, they should be exempt from paying the fee.
In his finding the judge addressed these concerns and concluded, “there is a relationship between the GIF and the scheme for the operation of the port, its efficient use of facilities and the movement of goods through the port.
In light of these authorities, I conclude that the GIF is not a tax. It is not important for this analysis to classify the GIF as a fee or regulatory charge.”
The case was dimissed with costs.