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$1.23 Million in Penalties for Alleged Violations by Forwarders, NVOCCs

Wednesday, August 05, 2015
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Federal Maritime Commission announced Aug. 4 the recovery of $1,227,500 in civil penalties to settle charges that seven non-vessel-operating common carriers and one vessel-operating common carrier committed violations of the Shipping Act or FMC regulations.

- A Dubai-based VOCC paid $537,500 to settle charges that it (a) unlawfully rebated to an NVOCC customer a portion of the applicable service contract rate in the form of an administrative fee not identified in the service contract and for which no services were provided, and (b) provided transportation not in accordance with the rates and charges in its published tariff.

- A bonded NVOCC located in China and two co-located licensed NVOCCs and freight forwarders paid $325,000 to settle charges that they knowingly and willfully obtained ocean transportation for property at less than the rates and charges that would otherwise be applicable by improperly utilizing rates limited to certain named accounts in service contracts and through the collection of forwarder compensation on export shipments in which one or more of these entities acted as NVOCC or had a beneficial interest. They were also charged with providing transportation in the liner trade that was not in accordance with the rates and charges set forth in their published tariffs.

- A tariffed and bonded NVOCC located in Taiwan paid $100,000 to settle charges that it knowingly and willfully obtained transportation at less than applicable rates by misrepresenting the names of shipper accounts under one of its service contracts, misdescribing cargo under that contract and providing transportation not in accordance with the rates and charges in its published tariff.

- A tariffed and bonded NVOCC and freight forwarder located in California paid $100,000 to settle charges that it knowingly and willfully obtained transportation at less than applicable rates by means of improperly allowing third parties to access service contracts to which it was the signatory.

- A licensed NVOCC based in New York paid $85,000 to settle charges that it unlawfully obtained from a VOCC rebates of a portion of the applicable service contract rate in the form of an administrative fee not identified in the service contracts of a liner company and for which no services were provided.

- A licensed NVOCC and freight forwarder based in New York paid $80,000 to settle charges that it (a) knowingly and willfully obtained transportation at less than applicable rates by means of improperly obtaining access to service contracts to which it was not the signatory and (b) provided transportation not in accordance with the rates and charges in its published tariff.

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