GUAM TO TAKE SHIPPING COMPANIES TO COURT OVER CARGO CHARGES

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AGANA, Guam (June 5, 1998 - Radio Australia)---The Government of Guam plans to take legal action against two shipping companies found to have over charged for cargo services.

The U. S. Federal Maritime Commission ruled that Sea-Land Services and American President Lines overcharged the Guam Government and commercial firms $US 23 million for cargo shipped from the U. S. West Coast to Guam between 1988 - 1990.

Nearly all consumable goods sold on Guam are imported by ship, so the over-charging is certain to have translated into higher prices for consumers.

The Governor of Guam, Carl Gutierrez, says the ruling vindicates Guam's long-standing claim that shipping companies had been profiteering at Guam's expense..

The ruling only requires the shipping companies to pay back a small percentage of the excess charges, but the Guam Government plans to take action in the U.S. Federal Appeals Court to recover the full $US 23 million on behalf of Guam's 146-thousand citizens.

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