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e-CFR data is current as of January 15, 2021

Title 46Chapter IVSubchapter BPart 515 → Subpart A

Title 46: Shipping

Subpart A—General

§515.1   Scope.
§515.2   Definitions.
§515.3   License; when required.
§515.4   License; when not required.
§515.5   Forms and fees.

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§515.1   Scope.

(a) This part sets forth regulations providing for the licensing and registration as ocean transportation intermediaries of persons who wish to carry on the business of providing intermediary services, including the grounds and procedures for revocation and suspension of licenses and registrations. This part also prescribes the financial responsibility requirements and the duties and responsibilities of ocean transportation intermediaries, and regulations concerning practices of ocean transportation intermediaries with respect to common carriers.

(b) Information obtained under this part is used to determine the qualifications of ocean transportation intermediaries and their compliance with shipping statutes and regulations. Failure to follow the provisions of this part may result in denial, revocation or suspension of an ocean transportation intermediary license or registration. Persons operating without the proper license or registration may be subject to civil penalties not to exceed $9,000 for each such violation, unless the violation is willfully and knowingly committed, in which case the amount of the civil penalty may not exceed $45,000 for each violation; for other violations of the provisions of this part, the civil penalties range from $9,000 to $45,000 for each violation (46 U.S.C. 41107-41109). Each day of a continuing violation shall constitute a separate violation.

[64 FR 11171, Mar. 8, 1999, as amended at 74 FR 50719, Oct. 1, 2009; 80 FR 68730, Nov. 5, 2015; 84 FR 62467, Nov. 15, 2019]

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§515.2   Definitions.

The terms used in this part are defined as follows:

(a) Act or Shipping Act means the Shipping Act of 1984, as amended. 46 U.S.C. 40101-41309.

(b) Beneficial interest includes a lien or interest in or right to use, enjoy, profit, benefit, or receive any advantage, either proprietary or financial, from the whole or any part of a shipment of cargo where such interest arises from the financing of the shipment or by operation of law, or by agreement, express or implied. The term “beneficial interest” shall not include any obligation in favor of an ocean transportation intermediary arising solely by reason of the advance of out-of-pocket expenses incurred in dispatching a shipment.

(c) Branch office means any office in the United States established by or maintained by or under the control of a licensee for the purpose of rendering intermediary services, which office is located at an address different from that of the licensee's designated home office.

(d) Commission means the Federal Maritime Commission.

(e) Common carrier means any person holding itself out to the general public to provide transportation by water of passengers or cargo between the United States and a foreign country for compensation that:

(1) Assumes responsibility for the transportation from the port or point of receipt to the port or point of destination, and

(2) Utilizes, for all or part of that transportation, a vessel operating on the high seas or the Great Lakes between a port in the United States and a port in a foreign country, except that the term does not include a common carrier engaged in ocean transportation by ferry boat, ocean tramp, chemical parcel tanker, or by a vessel when primarily engaged in the carriage of perishable agricultural commodities:

(i) If the common carrier and the owner of those commodities are wholly-owned, directly or indirectly, by a person primarily engaged in the marketing and distribution of those commodities, and

(ii) Only with respect to those commodities.

(f) Compensation means payment by a common carrier to a freight forwarder for the performance of services as specified in §515.2(h).

(g) Freight forwarding fee means charges billed by an ocean freight forwarder to a shipper, consignee, seller, purchaser, or any agent thereof, for the performance of freight forwarding services.

(h) Freight forwarding services refers to the dispatching of shipments on behalf of others, in order to facilitate shipment by a common carrier, which may include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1) Ordering cargo to port;

(2) Preparing and/or processing export documents, including the required `electronic export information';

(3) Booking, arranging for or confirming cargo space;

(4) Preparing or processing delivery orders or dock receipts;

(5) Preparing and/or processing common carrier bills of lading or other shipping documents;

(6) Preparing or processing consular documents or arranging for their certification;

(7) Arranging for warehouse storage;

(8) Arranging for cargo insurance;

(9) Assisting with clearing shipments in accordance with United States Government export regulations;

(10) Preparing and/or sending advance notifications of shipments or other documents to banks, shippers, or consignees, as required;

(11) Handling freight or other monies advanced by shippers, or remitting or advancing freight or other monies or credit in connection with the dispatching of shipments;

(12) Coordinating the movement of shipments from origin to vessel; and

(13) Giving expert advice to exporters concerning letters of credit, other documents, licenses or inspections, or on problems germane to the cargoes' dispatch.

(i) From the United States means oceanborne export commerce from the United States, its territories, or possessions, to foreign countries.

(j) Licensee is any person licensed by the Federal Maritime Commission as an ocean transportation intermediary.

(k) Non-vessel-operating common carrier services refers to the provision of transportation by water of cargo between the United States and a foreign country for compensation without operating the vessels by which the transportation is provided, and may include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1) Purchasing transportation services from a common carrier and offering such services for resale to other persons;

(2) Payment of port-to-port or multimodal transportation charges;

(3) Entering into affreightment agreements with underlying shippers;

(4) Issuing bills of lading or other shipping documents;

(5) Assisting with clearing shipments in accordance with U.S. government regulations;

(6) Arranging for inland transportation and paying for inland freight charges on through transportation movements;

(7) Paying lawful compensation to ocean freight forwarders;

(8) Coordinating the movement of shipments between origin or destination and vessel;

(9) Leasing containers;

(10) Entering into arrangements with origin or destination agents;

(11) Collecting freight monies from shippers and paying common carriers as a shipper on NVOCC's own behalf.

(l) Ocean common carrier means a common carrier that operates, for all or part of its common carrier service, a vessel on the high seas or the Great Lakes between a port in the United States and a port in a foreign country, except that the term does not include a common carrier engaged in ocean transportation by ferry boat, ocean tramp, or chemical parcel-tanker.

(m) Ocean transportation intermediary (OTI) means an ocean freight forwarder or a non-vessel-operating common carrier. For the purposes of this part, the term:

(1) Ocean freight forwarder (OFF) means a person that—

(i) In the United States, dispatches shipments from the United States via a common carrier and books or otherwise arranges space for those shipments on behalf of shippers; and

(ii) Processes the documentation or performs related activities incident to those shipments; and

(2) Non-vessel-operating common carrier (NVOCC) means a common carrier that does not operate the vessels by which the ocean transportation is provided, and is a shipper in its relationship with an ocean common carrier.

(n) Person means individuals, corporations, companies, including limited liability companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies and joint stock companies existing under or authorized by the laws of the United States or of a foreign country.

(o) Principal refers to the shipper, consignee, seller, or purchaser of property, and to anyone acting on behalf of such shipper, consignee, seller, or purchaser of property, who employs the services of a licensed freight forwarder to facilitate the ocean transportation of such property.

(p) Qualifying individual (QI) means an individual who meets the experience and character requirements of section 19 of the Shipping Act (46 U.S.C. 40901-40904) and this part.

(q) Reduced forwarding fees means charges to a principal for forwarding services that are below the licensed ocean freight forwarder's usual charges for such services.

(r) Registered non-vessel-operating common carrier (registered NVOCC) means an NVOCC whose primary place of business is located outside the United States and who elects not to become licensed as an NVOCC, but to register with the Commission as provided in §515.19, post a bond or other surety in the required amount, and publish a tariff as required by 46 CFR part 520.

(s) Shipment means all of the cargo carried under the terms of a single bill of lading.

(t) Shipper means:

(1) A cargo owner;

(2) The person for whose account the ocean transportation is provided;

(3) The person to whom delivery is to be made;

(4) A shippers' association; or

(5) A non-vessel-operating common carrier that accepts responsibility for payment of all charges applicable under the tariff or service contract.

(u) Special contract is a contract for ocean freight forwarding services which provides for a periodic lump sum fee.

(v) Transportation-related activities which are covered by the financial responsibility obtained pursuant to this part include, to the extent involved in the foreign commerce of the United States, any activity performed by an ocean transportation intermediary that is necessary or customary in the provision of transportation services to a customer, but are not limited to the following:

(1) For an ocean transportation intermediary operating as an ocean freight forwarder, the freight forwarding services enumerated in paragraph (h) of this section, and

(2) For an ocean transportation intermediary operating as a non-vessel-operating common carrier, the non-vessel-operating common carrier services enumerated in §515.2(k).

(w) United States includes the several States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, and all other United States territories and possessions.

[80 FR 68730, Nov. 5, 2015]

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§515.3   License; when required.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this part, no person in the United States may advertise, hold oneself out, or act as an ocean transportation intermediary unless that person holds a valid license issued by the Commission.

(b) For purposes of this part, a person is considered to be “in the United States” if such person is resident in, or incorporated or established under, the laws of the United States.

[85 FR 9683, Feb. 20, 2020]

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§515.4   License; when not required.

A license is not required in the following circumstances:

(a) Shippers. Any person whose primary business is the sale of merchandise may, without a license, dispatch and perform freight forwarding services on behalf of its own shipments, or on behalf of shipments or consolidated shipments of a parent, subsidiary, affiliate, or associated company. Such person shall not receive compensation from the common carrier for any services rendered in connection with such shipments.

(b) Agents, employees, or branch offices of an ocean transportation intermediary.

(1) A disclosed agent, individual employee, or branch office of an ocean transportation intermediary is not required to be licensed in order to act on behalf of and in the name of such ocean transportation intermediary.

(2) An ocean transportation intermediary must report branch offices to the Commission in Form FMC-18 or under the procedures in §515.20(e).

(3) An ocean transportation intermediary is fully responsible for the acts and omissions of any of its employees and agents that are performed in connection with the conduct of the ocean transportation intermediary's business.

(c) Common carriers. A common carrier, or agent thereof, may perform ocean freight forwarding services without a license only with respect to cargo carried under such carrier's own bill of lading. Charges for such forwarding services shall be assessed in conformance with the carrier's published tariffs.

(d) Federal military and civilian household goods. Any person which exclusively transports used household goods and personal effects for the account of the Department of Defense, or for the account of the federal civilian executive agencies shipping under the International Household Goods Program administered by the General Services Administration, or both, is not subject to the requirements of subpart B of this part, but may be subject to other requirements, such as alternative surety bonding, imposed by the Department of Defense, or the General Services Administration.

[80 FR 68731, Nov. 5, 2015, as amended at 85 FR 9683, Feb. 20, 2020]

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§515.5   Forms and fees.

(a) Forms. License Application Form FMC-18 is found at the Commission's website www.fmc.gov for completion on-line by applicants and licensees. Foreign-based Unlicensed NVOCC Registration/Renewal Form FMC-65 and financial responsibility Forms FMC-48, FMC-67, FMC-68, FMC-69 may be obtained from the Commission's website at www.fmc.gov, from the Director, Bureau of Certification and Licensing, Federal Maritime Commission, Washington, DC 20573, or from any of the Commission's Area Representatives.

(b) Filing of license application forms. All application forms are to be filed electronically.

(c) Fees. (1)(i) All fees shall be paid by:

(A) Money order, certified, cashier's, or personal check payable to the order of the “Federal Maritime Commission;”

(B) Pay.gov;

(C) The Automated Clearing House system; or

(D) By other means authorized by the Director of the Commission's Office of Budget and Finance.

(ii) Applications or registrations shall be rejected unless the applicable fee and any bank charges assessed against the Commission are received by the Commission within ten (10) business days after submission of the application or registration. In any instance where an application has been processed in whole or in part, the fee will not be refunded.

(2) Fees under this part shall be as follows:

(i) Application for new OTI license as required by §515.12(a): Filing $250.

(ii) Application for change to OTI license or license transfer as required by §515.20(a) and (b): Filing $125.

[80 FR 68732, Nov. 5, 2015, as amended at 81 FR 59144, Aug. 29, 2016; 83 FR 50294, Oct. 5, 2018; 84 FR 62467, Nov. 15, 2019]

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