Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) Ocean Transportation Intermediary License

What is a FMC Ocean Transportation Intermediary License?

Ocean Transportation Intermediaries (OTIs) are either Ocean Freight Forwarders or Non-Vessel-Operating Common Carriers and are regulated by the FMC pursuant to the Shipping Act of 1984.

An Ocean Freight Forwarder (OFF) is an individual or company located in the U.S. which:

  • arranges cargo movement to an international destination
  • dispatches shipments from the United States via common carriers and books or otherwise arranges space for those shipments on behalf of shippers
  • prepares and processes the documentation and performs related activities pertaining to those shipments

Prior to Offering Services in the U.S. Trades, OFFs:

  • are required to obtain a license from the FMC 
  • are required to submit proof of financial responsibility for payment of claims arising from transportation-related activities

A Non-Vessel-Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) is:

  • a common carrier that holds itself out to the public to provide ocean transportation, issues its own house bill of lading or equivalent document, and does not operate the vessels by which ocean transportation is provided
  • a shipper in its relationship with the vessel-operating common carrier involved in the movement of cargo

Prior to Offering Services in the U.S. Trades, NVOCCs:

  • are required to obtain a license from the FMC (if a U.S.-based company)
  • are required to submit proof of financial responsibility for payment of claims (46 CFR Part 515 Subpart C) (arising from its transportation-related activities
  • are required to publish a tariff

The UWL Team of Experienced Compliance Specialists

Partner with trusted advisors to navigate the challenging requirements of shipping regulations. Our team of in-house compliance specialists will design effective compliance strategies to simplify the complex regulatory system. UWL will help you comply with existing government regulations and stay ahead of changing compliance laws.

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