The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is the independent federal agency responsible for regulating the U.S. international ocean transportation system for the benefit of U.S. exporters, importers, and the U.S. consumer. The FMC issues Ocean Transportation Intermediary licenses (freight forwarder and NVOCC), may issue penalties and hear appeals thereof, and adjudicates bond issues in hopes of fostering a fair, efficient and reliable international ocean transportation system and to protect the public from unfair and deceptive practices.

We represent shippers, forwarders, NVOCCs and other carriers in matters related to:

  • Obtaining Federal licenses for freight forwarder and NVOCC.  We can handle the complete application process for you.
  • Performing test audits for OTIs to monitor compliance.
  • Obtaining relief from ocean shipping practices or disputes that impede the flow of commerce.
  • Ensuring common carriers’ tariff rates and charges are published in private, automated tariff systems and electronically available.
  • Monitoring rates, charges, and rules of government owned/controlled carriers to ensure they are just and reasonable.
  • Helping resolve disputes involving shipment of cargo, personal or household goods, or disputes between cruise vessel operators and passengers.
  • Investigating and ruling on complaints regarding rates, charges, classifications, and practices of common carriers as well as Ocean Transportation Intermediaries (OTIs) that violate the Shipping Act.

Below are links including the relevant Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), rules regulating Negotiated Rate Arrangements (NRAs) and Negotiated Service Arrangements (NSAs), as well as examples of NRAs and NSAs. We hope you find these links helpful. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

CFR PART 515—General Duties For Ocean Transportation Intermediaries

CFR PART 520—Carrier Automated Tariffs

CFR PART 531—NVOCC Service Arrangements

NRA Final Rules

Prohibited Acts

Sample NRA

Sample NSA