Tuesday 16 October 2018

Shipping firm gets injunction over Stena contract

Doyle Shipping Group (DSG) had operated a contract to provide services to allow Stena’s ferries dock at the port for over 20 years. Stock photo
Doyle Shipping Group (DSG) had operated a contract to provide services to allow Stena’s ferries dock at the port for over 20 years. Stock photo

Aodhan O'Faolain

A SHIPPING company has secured an injunction allowing it to continue to provide services to Stena Line's ferries docking at Dublin port until their dispute over the purported termination of the contractual relationship between them has been determined.

Doyle Shipping Group (DSG) had operated a contract to provide services to allow Stena’s ferries dock at the port for over 20 years.

The services include stevedoring, checking-in and out of passengers, loading and unloading freight and administration services.

The contract for providing the services was worth €4 million annually and was renewed periodically.

On August 31 last, Stena informed DSG it was ending the agreement and gave DSG three months notice.

DSG, which provides services at all of Ireland’s major ports, argues the termination notice is in breach of an oral agreement negotiated with Stena in 2015 for provision of services at Dublin Port until 2022.

In its proceedings against Stena, DSG wants declarations including the termination notice is invalid and of no effect, and that the 2015 agreement is binding.

The claims are denied and in related proceedings against DSG Stena claims the termination notice is valid and it is entitled to terminate the agreement on three months notice based on an agreement the parties entered into in 2011.

Stena, which has entered into a contract with another party to provide the services at Dublin Port also seeks a declaration its termination notice is valid.

At the Commercial Court on Friday, Mr Justice Brian McGovern granted DSG an injunction restraining Stena breaching the contract with DSG or transferring any of DSG’s contractual obligations to any other party.

The injunction also prevents Stena removing or evicting DSG from any of properties or locations in Dublin Port where it operates. 

The Judge said he was making the order because of the existing business relationship between the parties which has been in place for many years.

Refusing to grant the injunction could have a significant impact on DSG's employees.

The Judge added he was satisfied that both parties in their respective cases had raised fair issues to be tried, and that damages would not be an adequate remedy for DSG if no injunction was granted.

The balance of convenience also favoured the granting of the injunction.

Stena had opposed the application.

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