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Federal Maritime Commission Announces Administrative Changes for Ocean Transportation Intermediaries

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Today the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) published a final rule amending some of its rules governing licensing, registration, financial responsibility requirements, and general duties for ocean transportation intermediaries. FMC says the changes are mainly administrative and procedural and are designed to “further reduce the regulatory burden on regulated entities.” The changes were first proposed for public comment in December 2018. 

The changes include:

  1. Updating the title and scope of part 515 to include foreign-based non-vessel-operating common carrier (NVOCC) registrations
  2. Clarifying the requirements for U.S. agents of foreign-based registered NVOCCs (specifically, clarifying that the agent can be either ocean freight forwarders or NVOCCs)
  3. Removing the optional paper application process and related reference to fee amounts
  4. Adding language to clarify who can be the Qualifying Individual in partnerships between entities other than individuals (specifically, clarifying that the Qualifying Individual doesn’t need to be an individual person but can also be an entity)
  5. Updating and improving renewal, bond, and termination processes, including changing the initial license period before renewal from three years to between one and four years in order to “spread out renewal dates”. (Note that the National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA) expressed concerns about this change, saying that if the period before renewal is less than the traditional three years that will be more burdensome for their members.)
  6. Adding clarifying language regarding FMC’s direct review of applications in certain cases, like when an OTI’s license was previously revoked or denied within the past three years.
  7. Clarifying that sureties need to provide an ocean transportation intermediary’s organization number when filing a claim against it.
  8. Adding a requirement that NVOCCs submit their Form FMC-1 prior to being issued a license.
  9. Deleting the reference to the availability of the Regulated Person’s Index, which FMC found to be redundant since the index is already available through the FMC’s homepage

You can read the notice, which has additional detail about each of these changes, here. If you have any questions, please contact TIA Advocacy at advocacy@tianet.org or 703.299.5700. 


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