FMC License Application Handling for OFFs
Companies based in the US seeking to offer ocean freight forwarding services from the US under their own name must obtain an Ocean Freight Forwarder (OFF) license from the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission. This license is only available to companies with an office and staff in the US.
OFFs are different from NVOCCs in that they only arrange for ocean freight as agents of their shipper customers. They do not hold themselves out as ocean carriers and do not issue their own bills of lading. OFFs are prohibited from entering into Service Contracts with Vessel-Operating Ocean Carriers and must provide underlying ocean freight bills to shippers along with a detailed breakout of all charges upon request. OFFs typically charge their shipper customers forwarder fees or documentation fees for preparing shipping documentation. OFF may also earn forwarder commissions from ocean carriers.
DPI has assisted hundreds of companies successfully apply for and obtain OFF licenses from the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC).
The application process includes detailed reporting of your company’s organizational structure and management. Every OFF must employ at least one company officer as a Qualifying Individual (QI) for FMC licensing purposes. The QI must have no less than three years of experience processing freight shipments in the U.S. ocean trade lanes. Our experts are familiar with all aspects of QI requirements and company documentation. We will assist you in preparing all needed reporting.
Once your application is prepared, we will handle submission and follow through with the FMC’s Licensing Bureau. Most applications handled by DPI are approved within 60 days.
For this service, we bill an hourly rate of US$ 60. Most applications require 12 hours of staff time. Please be advised that an application fee of US$ 250 must be submitted to the FMC with each new application.