MCS Industries, Inc. -- a furniture and home furnishing company based in Pennsylvania that earlier accused COSCO Shipping Lines Co., Ltd., and MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. of colluding with other carriers to drive up freight rates -- has entered into a settlement agreement with COSCO.
The details of the settlement, however, is confidential and filed under seal.
Chief Administrative Law Judge Erin M. Wirth approved the settlement agreement between MCS Industries and COSCO. Judge Wirth also dismissed with prejudice MCS's claims against COSCO.
Meanwhile, MCS is pursuing its complaint against MSC and Judge Wirth has issued a scheduling order wherein the parties will undergo discovery. January 27, 2022 is the target date to close the discovery. The parties will be required to file a joint status report in January to propose a schedule for briefing the merits of the proceeding.
In its complaint, MCS alleged that since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, global ocean carriers including COSCO and MSC have unjustly and unreasonably exploited customers, vastly increasing their profitability at the expense of shippers and the U.S. public generally, which bears increased freight cost in the form of inflation.
COSCO and MSC both denied the allegations.
Documents related to the proceeding -- 21-05 - MCS Industries, Inc. v. COSCO Shipping Lines Co., Ltd. and MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company SA -- can be viewed here.