Updated: October 21 2019

Federal Maritime Commission (FMC)

The FMC protects shippers, carriers and others engaged in the foreign commerce of the U.S. from restrictive rules and regulations of foreign governments and from the practices of foreign-flag carriers that have an adverse effect on shipping in U.S. trades;

* Investigates, upon its own motion or upon filing of a complaint, discriminatory, unfair, or unreasonable rates, charges, classifications, and practices of ocean common carriers, terminal operators, and freight forwarders operating in the foreign commerce of the U.S.;

* Receives agreements among ocean common carriers or marine terminal operators and monitors them to assure that they are not substantially anticompetitive or otherwise violative of the Shipping Act of 1984;

* Reviews tariff publications under the access and accuracy standards of the Shipping Act of 1984.

* Regulates rates, charges, classifications, rules, and regulations contained in tariffs of carriers controlled by foreign governments and operating in U.S. trades to ensure that such matters are just and reasonable;

* Licenses U.S.-based international ocean ocean transportation intermediaries;

* Requires bonds of U.S. & foreign based OTIs ; and

* Issues passenger vessel certificates showing evidence of financial responsibility of vessel owners or charterers to pay judgments for personal injury or death or to repay fares for the nonperformance of a voyage or cruise.

The FMC’s jurisdiction encompasses many facets of the maritime industry. However, it has no jurisdiction over vessel operations, navigation, vessel construction, vessel documentation, vessel inspection, licensing of seafaring personnel, maintenance of navigational aids or dredging. These activities are handled by other federal, state and local agencies.

The principal shipping statutes administered by the FMC are the Shipping Act of 1984 (46 USC app. 1710 et seq), the Foreign Shipping Practices Act of 1988 (46 USC app. 1701 et seq), and section 19 of the Merchant Marine Act, 1920 (46 USC app. 876). The FMC’s regulations are published in 46 CFR 500 et seq.

Primary Address

Federal Maritime Commission (FMC)
800 North Capitol Street, NW,
Washington, DC 20573
Phone: (202) 523-5725
Web: http://www.fmc.gov/

Region(s) Served
  • National
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