FMC: OTI may not use unlicensed, unbonded agents

John Doe
Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued an order stating that, under the Shipping Act of 1984 and its implementing regulations, a licensed ocean transportation intermediary (OTI) may not use unlicensed and unbonded agents to provide non-vessel-operating common carrier (NVOCC) and ocean freight forwarder services to the public. The OTI had petitioned for a declaratory order allowing such an exception, citing the evolving business conditions. The majority of the Commission denied the petition, noting that it is not aware of any legislative history or case law that would indicate the Congress intended to distinguish between persons would act as OTIs (and must be licensed and bonded) and persons who provide OTI services (and could avoid the license and bonding requirements). One Commissioner dissented, arguing that, at the very least, the FMC should examine the issue in greater depth and seek public comment. Docket No. 06-08 (HK Law).

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