The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) announced it has recently entered into compromise agreements with eight non-vessel-operating common carriers (NVOCCs), recovering a total of USD 618,000 in civil penalties. The agreed penalties resulted from investigations conducted by the Commission’s Area Representatives in Houston, and New York/New Jersey, and by Washington D.C. headquarters staff. These eight NVOCCs paid penalties but did not admit to violations of the Shipping Act or Commission regulations.
The alleged violations and the NVOCCs who were penalized are as follows. The links under each NVOCC’s name provide the full text of the compromise agreements, and the penalty amounts paid by each. Each of these NVOCCs cooperated with the FMC and terminated the practices that are the basis of the alleged violations set forth herein and has committed to maintain measures designed to eliminate such practices in the future.
Separate compromise agreements were entered with Blue Cargo Group, LLC, of Miami, FL, and Trans Orient Express, Inc., of Los Angeles, CA, both licensed NVOCCs; and with Bondex Logistics, Inc., a registered NVOCC based in the People’s Republic of China. It is alleged that each of these unrelated NVOCCs knowingly and willfully obtained transportation at less than applicable rates and charges by improperly utilizing rates contained in service contracts limited to certain named shipper accounts for unrelated shipments of cargo. The compromise agreement with Bondex Logistics also alleged that it provided service in the liner trade that was not in accordance with its published tariff.
The compromise agreement with Jiangsu Feiliks International Logistics, Inc., a registered NVOCC located in the People’s Republic of China, alleged that it knowingly and willfully allowed another NVOCC to access its service contracts and thereby unlawfully permitted a non-contract party to enjoy the benefits of service contracts contrary to the terms of its contract with the respective ocean common carrier.
A compromise agreement with North Star World Trade Service, Inc., of Mendota Heights, MN, a licensed NVOCC and freight forwarder, alleged that it operated without a Qualifying Individual (QI) for a period in excess of one year; this does not comply with FMC’s licensing regulations which require the application for a replacement QI to be submitted to the Commission within 30 days after the previous QI terminates his or her employment with the licensee.
Separate compromise agreements with licensed NVOCCs Walmay Logistics, Inc., of Diamond Bar, CA; Prime Shipping International, Inc. dba Prime Agency, of City of Industry, CA; and SWAT International, Inc., of Jamaica, NY, alleged that each of these unrelated NVOCCs knowingly and willfully obtained transportation at less than applicable rates and charges by unlawfully accessing service contracts to which they were not a party. The compromise agreements also alleged that each provided transportation in the liner trade that was not in accordance with its published tariff.