American President Lines Ltd. questioned the right of several other carriers to participate in the case involving its plans for entering the mainland- Hawaii trade on its subsidized service to the Far East.
APL raised that question in its first reaction to opposition to those
plans, a reply filed with the Maritime Administration and the Maritime Subsidy Board.Of the eight actual and potential competitors in the domestic offshore trade between the mainland and Hawaii, not all should be allowed to participate in the case, the big subsidized operator said.
APL also said it should be made clear at the outset of what it expects to be a tough case that the subsidy board should decide the case, not the maritime administrator.
APL urged the board to reject petitions to participate in the case from Sea-Land Service Inc., Totem Ocean Trailer Express Inc. and Island Shipping Lines Ltd.
The first two don't have a mainland-Hawaii service, only plans for one, and Island's concern is that its Guam operations will somehow be affected by APL's plan, APL added.
Matson Navigation Co., Hawaiian Marine Lines Inc. and United States Lines Inc. clearly have a mainland-Hawaii service, giving them standing, APL said.
But APL added that it intends to look further into Hawaiian Marine's relationship to the Crowley foreign trade operations.
Sause Bros. Ocean Towing Co. and Transport Express Inc. do seem to have such service, APL said, but it also reserves the right to test them through discovery in the hearing it expects to be ordered.
The question of status of the various intervening parties must be established early, APL argued.
Matson, Sause, Hawaiian Marine and Transport Express, APL contended, can't participate on the issue of operating exclusively in the non-subsidized domestic trades where a claim may be made for protection against unfair competition from a subsidized operator in the foreign trades.
Matson has a service that operates between the U.S. West Coast and the sovereign republic of the Marshall Islands, and that, in APL's estimation, links it to the foreign commerce.
APL hoped to start a weekly westbound service to Hawaii soon with its subsidized trans-Pacific route vessels.
The carrier advised Marad and the board that the proceeding has the potential to be hotly disputed and lengthy.
APL said it would be irreparably injured if it received permission to undertake its plans but that permission later was challenged successfully in court on grounds that "the wrong entity within the Maritime Administration had ordered the hearing and ruled on the application.
Marad, too, would be seriously prejudiced if it expended significant time and resources in arriving at a decision that should later be overturned on such a ground, APL added.
The carrier said the original official notice was ambiguous and could be read to mean the maritime administrator rather than the board would decide the application.
The carrier said it reached the conclusion that the board should make decisions under Section 805 (a) of the 1936 Merchant Marine Act. The section bars subsidized operators from domestic trades without specific written permission, in order to protect non-subsidized domestic carriers.