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FMC Registration for Foreign NVOCCs

What is FMC Registration for Foreign NVOCCs? 

The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC)  requires FMC Registration for 

 - Non-Vessel-Operating Common Carriers (NVOCCs) based outside of the United States 
 - that sell ocean freight in the U.S. ocean trade lanes in their own name.

The FMC Registration process requires three key documents.:

1. Form FMC-65:  NVOCCs must complete the FMC's Registration Application which requires -
   a) a company officer to certify that they have read and will fully comply with the U.S. Shipping Act and related FMC regulations;  
   b) full company information including legal name and address; and 
  c) contact information for a U.S. agent for service of legal process.

2. NVOCC Bond:  NVOCCs must also submit proof of compliance with FMC's financial responsibility requirements using Form-48 (or Form-69 for group bonds). These requirements are best satisfied by obtaining an NVOCC bond of US$ 150,000.00, 

3. FMC Form-1:  NVOCCs must submit proof of compliance with FMC's tariff requirements via FMC's online Form-1

Once your company is FMC Registered, your company is authorized to enter into Service Contracts with Ocean Carriers and issue a House Bill of Lading for shipments to the US.

About 1/3 of all NVOCCs operating in the U.S. ocean trade lanes are FMC Registered-NVOCCs. 
Read on to learn more about FMC Registration Key Points and Obligations. 
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 Quick Law Links  

FMC Regulations 46 C.F.R. Part 515

  FMC Registration Key Points

NVOCCs that obtain FMC Registration must comply with FMC regulations when they act as NVOCCs in the U.S. ocean trade lanes. 

You are generally operating as an NVOCC in the U.S. ocean trade lane in the following scenarios.: 

  When you re-sell full-container load (FCL) or less-than container load (LCL) ocean freight at a markup or profit, you are acting as an NVOCC.

   When you issue your own House Bill of Lading or other shipping documents in the name of your company, you are acting as an NVOCC.

  When you allow shipments to move under Service Contracts signed by your company whether you issue your House Bill of Lading or not, you are acting as an NVOCC.  

  When you are listed as Shipper on an ocean Bill of Lading for cargo that you do not own, you are acting as an NVOCC.

 FMC Registration Obligations

NVOCCs that obtain FMC Registration should be aware of the following obligations under FMC regulations.: 

   Registered NVOCCs must maintain an NVOCC Bond in the amount of US$ 150,000. 

  Registered NVOCCs must publish and maintain an FMC Tariff containing all rules and terms applicable to their ocean freight rates.

 Registered NVOCCs must document their selling rates for ocean freight in a Tariff Rate, Negotiated Rate Arrangement, or NVOCC Service Arrangement.

  Registered NVOCCs must report any changes to their company information to the FMC within 30 days and must complete FMC's online registration renewal process every three years.

  If an NVOCC uses Negotiated Rate Arrangements (NRAs), NRA records that are not maintained in English must be accompanied by a certified translation upon FMC request.

  Why become an FMC Registered NVOCC?  

Many companies obtain an FMC Registration as a Non-Vessel-Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) in order to: 

 - re-sell ocean freight rates for transportation between the US and foreign countries at a markup or profit, 

 - enter into Service Contracts with Vessel-Operating Common Carriers (VOCCs), also commonly referred to as Ocean Carriers, 

 - issue Bills of Lading or other shipping documents in their own company's name, and 
 - signify to clients and vendors that their company is a certified ocean transportation service provider recognized by the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission and listed on the FMC's official list of NVOCCs with a tariff listed on FMC's official list of accepted NVOCC Tariffs,   

The flexibility to set their own price for ocean freight rates instead of negotiating a forwarding fee and the ability to negotiate lower freight rates via Service Contracts with Ocean Carriers are often driving factors for companies to obtain FMC Registration.   

The FMC Registration is not available to companies with employees in the U.S. If your company has employee in the US, you must obtain an FMC License and employ a Qualifying Individual (QI). Please review our NVOCC and Qualifying Individual (QI) blog posts. 
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How can DPI help?

Since 1975, DPI has helped thousands of NVOCCs comply with U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) regulations. 

Our expert staff is ready to assist companies seeking to offer ocean freight services as NVOCCs. We offer members the following NVOCC-specific services: 

FMC Registration Handling,
- FMC Tariff Publication - Rules,
- Selling Rate Compliance, and
- NVOCC Bond Assistance.

We also provide expert assistance with FMC audits, regulatory consultation, and online training programs. 

Read on for more info. 

   FMC Registration Handling

NVOCCs outside of the US that ship to or from the US must register with the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC). They must also advise the FMC of a legal agent for service of process in the US.

DPI will handle your registration application and provide expert guidance on the U.S. Shipping Act and FMC regulations. We will also serve as your company's legal agent for service of process here in the US.

Before you may begin NVOCC operations you must provide FMC with proof of your NVOCC bond and publish an FMC tariff that includes your House Bill of Lading terms. DPI will coordinate with your Bond Agent and publish your FMC Tariff.  We will also review your House Bill of Lading to ensure it complies with FMC regulations for NVOCCs.

With DPI's assistance you can be sure that all is in order for your company to begin NVOCC operations as soon as your registration is processed. We charge US $150 for registration handling. 

Read on for information about DPI's FMC Tariff publication and NVOCC bonding services. 
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What we offer

   FMC Tariff Publication - Rules 

NVOCCs must publish and maintain a tariff listing all charges, classifications, rules, and practices applicable to their U.S. ocean freight services. U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) tariff regulations require that tariffs meet detailed formatting, record-keeping, and access requirements.  

DPI has published 
thousands of tariffs for clients all over the world. When you publish your tariff with DPI, we ensure more than just basic compliance with FMC tariff regulations. Our multilingual staff will recommend cost-effective tariff filing strategies and will be available to answer all your FMC-related questions.

Our secure online cloud database provides 24/7 access to your FMC tariff and makes requesting updates easy and efficient. 

For new NVOCCs, we will publish a tariff that provides all FMC required rules, the full text of your Bill of Lading, and commonly used commercial regulations. If you have an existing tariff and would like to switch to our services, we can also assist.  

Our fees for initial tariff rules publication and annual tariff data base maintenance fee are very reasonable. We charge nominal filing fees per new or revised filing. For our full price list, click here
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   Selling Rate Compliance

U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) regulations require that all NVOCCs document their ocean freight selling rates. There are three options for this documentation:

a) FMC Tariff Rate filing,
b) Negotiated Rate Arrangements (NRAs), or
c) NVOCC Service Arrangement (NSAs)

FMC's tariff regulations require specific and time-sensitive rate documentation to ensure that rates are provided to shippers in a clear and timely manner. 

DPI offers compliance assistance for all three option - Tariff Rate filing, NRAs, and NSAs. Many of our NVOCC clients find that Tariff Rate filing is the most efficient option. Our staff are happy to review the three options with you and advise the most cost-effective compliance method for your organization.

Review our Knowledge Center for more information on Tariff RatesNRAs and NSAs or contact us for more information today.

   NVOCC Bond

U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) regulations require that all NVOCCs maintain an NVOCC Bond. NVOCCs must also provide the FMC with proof of their NVOCC bond before they may commence NVOCC operations. 

Registered NVOCCs must maintain a bond in the amount of US$ 150,000. 

DPI is happy to recommend insurance agents and sureties qualified to handle your NVOCC bonding requirements.

Our staff will work with you and your bond agent to expedite all paperwork required to obtain speedy approval, so that you may begin operating as an NVOCC as soon as possible. 
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The annual fee for NRAMS is US$ 396 – this provides unlimited use for one User ID, with no transaction fees. DPI Members who qualify can begin using NRAMS very quickly. If your company's tariff is maintained at www.dpiusa.com you qualify. DPI already provides public access to your FMC tariff rules free of charge – this has been a standard part of our FMC tariff publishing services since May 1999. You will only need to add the NRA rule to your existing tariff, and agree to the terms and fees for NRAMS. Click on the button below or contact your DPI Account Representative to request the authorization agreement for NRAMS. We will send it to you promptly along with additional details that explain how NRAMS will provide you with a paperless solution for NRA management.

The FMC provides a web page that summarizes the NRA requirements and the steps an NVOCC must take in order to use NRAs. See our NRA Management System Information Sheet for a summary of NRAs and NRAMS.

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