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Two Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers (NVOCCs) and one Vessel Operating Common Carriers (VOCC) were involved in compromise agreements with the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), yielding over $2.3 million in civil penalty payments. These agreements also require significant changes to business practices.


Here are the key details:


  1. CMA-CGM, S.A.:


  • Ocean common carrier CMA-CGM paid $1,975,000 to settle allegations that the company had overbroadly defined and applied its definition of merchant in a bill of lading to demand payment from a third party who should not have been billed.

  • CMA-CGM now limits the definition of “merchant” in its bills of lading to shippers, consignees, and those with a beneficial interest in the cargo.

  • In addition to paying civil penalties, CMA-CGM will also furnish restitution to impacted third parties in the form of refunds and waivers.

  • CMA-CGM has committed to comply with the Demurrage and Detention Billing Rule.


  1. Vanguard Logistics Services (USA), Inc.:


  • Ocean transportation intermediary (OTI) Vanguard paid $175,000 to resolve allegations that they knowingly accepted cargo from OTIs without required bonds, insurance, or sureties.

  • Vanguard will conduct an internal audit and provide updates to the FMC on progress and remedial actions.


  1. Shipco Transport, Inc.:


  • Shipco, another OTI, paid $155,000 to resolve three misconduct allegations.

  • These included accepting cargo from OTIs without proper sureties, allowing unlicensed OTIs to obtain transportation at reduced rates, and providing unauthorized access to service contracts.


Both Vanguard and Shipco committed to cooperating with the FMC in future investigations.


Avoid Penalties, Contact Us Now!


AP Tariffs offers personalized services, including Free FMC compliance consulting (free for clients up to 2 hours/month).

We aim to facilitate error-free NVOCC operations to avoid $14,608 per shipment FMC penalties. AP Tariffs offers Free Training Courses to address FMC compliance questions and conducts FMC Mock Audits of customers' Ocean Freight Documentation to identify potential errors. Our proactive approach equips customers to handle real FMC Audits penalty-free. 

Email us now at or schedule a free consultation! Meetings in Spanish, Mandarin and Korean languages also available.

The Federal Maritime Commission's (FMC) Final Rule on Detention and Demurrage Billing Requirements, effective May 28, 2024, mandates significant adjustments in how ocean carriers and terminal operators handle demurrage billing.


To ensure compliance and maintain seamless operations, Atlantic Pacific Tariffs, Inc., the 5th largest tariff publisher for NVOCCs in the world, compiled a detailed guide tailored for Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers (NVOCCs) and Vessel Operating Common Carriers (VOCCs): 

Immediate Steps for Compliance: 

1. Review Current Billing Processes:

- Assess your existing billing procedures to comport with the new FMC requirements.

- Identify gaps, especially in to whom invoices are issued.

2. Update Contractual Agreements: 

- If you are an NVOCC, ensure that your NRAs or NSAs with shippers specify that demurrage and detention charges will be treated as pass-through charges unless you opt to publish your own charges as set forth in your governing tariff.

- If you are a VOCC, ensure your service contracts with shippers specify responsibilities for demurrage and detention charges are in sync with the new rule.

- Clarify invoicing parties to avoid conflicts.

3. Train Your Staff:

- Conduct training sessions for your billing and customer service teams on the new requirements.

- Focus on the importance of timely invoicing and the specifics that need to be included in each invoice.

- AP Tariffs offers customers free training sessions. Please click here to schedule a follow-up meeting to discuss how these changes will impact your NVOCC operations.

4. Implement a Dispute Resolution Process:

- Establish a clear process for handling disputes regarding demurrage and detention charges.

- Ensure this process allows for resolution within the 30-day timeframe mandated by the FMC.


Timeline and Specific Actions: 

Before May 28, 2024:

- Complete internal reviews and training. 

- Update all contracts and service agreements to reflect the new invoicing requirements.

By May 28, 2024:

- Fully integrate the new billing and dispute resolution processes into your operations. 

- Communicate changes to your shippers, consignees, and truckers, emphasizing the importance of the 30-day dispute window.

For NVOCCs Specifically:

- Understand Your Position: As both a billed and billing party, NVOCCs have an extended 30-day period, on top of the initial 30 days, to dispute charges with VOCCs. This takes into account the role intermediaries as NVOCCs play.

- Coordinate with VOCCs: Establish clear communication channels with VOCCs from whom you receive invoices. This will ensure you can manage disputes effectively within the extended timeline should your client dispute an invoice for demurrage and/or detention charges.

For VOCCs Specifically:

- Clarity in Invoicing: As primary carriers, VOCCs must ensure invoices are issued directly to the party responsible for the charge, either the shipper or the consignee, based on the contractual agreement.

- Timely Communication: VOCCs are required to issue invoices within the 30-day period post-charge accrual to comply with the FMC regulations.

Ongoing Compliance:

- Monitor and Adjust: Regularly review your billing and dispute processes to ensure they comply with FMC regulations.

- Stay Informed: Keep abreast of any further regulatory changes by the FMC that may affect detention and demurrage billing practices. 

Adhering to these guidelines will ensure compliance with the FMC's final rule and foster a more transparent, efficient, and equitable operational environment for NVOCCs, VOCCs, and their clients.


Remember, a proactive approach to compliance can significantly reduce the risk of disputes and strengthen your relationships within the industry.


Contact Us Now!

AP Tariffs is your best partner in the business, ensuring you stay on top of the FMC rules and regulations. Email us at or schedule a free consultation (Spanish, Mandarin and Korean languages also available).

FMC Registration Webinar on March 27, 2024

Atlantic Pacific Tariffs, Inc. (AP Tariffs) is excited to announce it will be presenting at the upcoming WCAworld Academy webinar on US FMC Registration Requirements.

Join us to navigate through the legal requirements for ocean shipping to/from the USA, with in-depth discussions on the latest updates and compliance practices.


  • English version: Wednesday, 27 March 2024, at 12 PM EST

  • Chinese version: Thursday, 28 March 2024, at 9 PM EST

Don't miss this opportunity to stay ahead in the maritime logistics industry! Remember, you must be a WCA member to join.

AP Tariffs has top-notch technology, excellent problem-solving skills, and a responsive support team to help your business grow in compliance with FMC regulations.

Not a WCA member? Schedule an online meeting with us, Please Click Here.  You can also e-mail your queries to

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