Hearing examines minority contract rules at Hartsfield-Jackson

Airport contracting at Hartsfield-Jackson International is again generating controversy, this time through a challenge filed by a contractor that claims it was unfairly disqualified for not fulfilling minority contracting requirements.

Vanderlande Industries is appealing the city's decision on a nearly $40 million contract to design and build baggage system conveyors and install new explosives detection machines to screen checked bags in the bowels of the world's busiest airport.

Credit: Kelly Yamanouchi

Credit: Kelly Yamanouchi

The dispute prompted a hearing before a contract compliance hearing officer, with Vanderlande and the city each presenting arguments.

Vanderlande, based in the Netherlands, submitted the low bid of $38.3 million but fell far short of the city’s goal for minority partners. The city instead selected Jervis B. Webb Co., part of Japanese baggage handling giant Daifuku Co, which bid about $39.9 million.

The dispute highlights the complex web of minority contracting requirements for airport work and other government contracts, and how the rules can affect the cost of government contracts and who gets the work.

More on MyAJC.com: Atlanta airport’s minority contract rules spur dispute