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Forwarders and consolidators engaged in wrongdoing such as operating without the required license or bond and offering ocean carriers misdeclared hazardous cargoes should watch out.

Michael Khouri, Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, said his agency has increased its enforcement over these violators.

The FMC enhanced its oversight of agency enforcement actions in December by revising its delegations of authority to the Bureau of Enforcement and revising procedures for initiating and settling enforcement actions.

Under the new procedure, commissioners are required to vote to approve the initiation of compromise negotiations by the FMC’s Bureau of Enforcement. Commissioners must also approve any compromise agreements by the bureau before the agreement becomes final.

Khouri, who attended the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA) Government Affairs Conference on Sept. 14, told NCBFAA members that this seemingly modest change is actually important for them.

“I’m confident that, in the end, these changes will achieve a better result for both the commission and its stakeholders,” he said.

The FMC’s new enforcement procedure is modeled after the decades-old process used by the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission. 

The Federal Maritime Commission ordered International Global Logistics, Inc., to pay $40,000 in compromise of all civil penalties for knowingly and willfully performed the services of an ocean transportation intermediary/non-vessel operating common carrier without having obtained a license to perform such services from the FMC.

The FMC also alleged that IGL did not file a surety bond or other evidence of financial responsibility, and did not publish a tariff, in violation of the Shipping Act of 1984. IGL, located in San Leandro, Calif., entered into a compromise agreement with the FMC in March 2019.

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