FMC Collects $334,000 in Penalty Payments
Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Mario Cordero announced that the commission has completed compromise agreements recovering a total of $334,000 in civil penalties.
The agreements were reached with five ocean transportation intermediaries—both non-vessel-operating common carriers (NVOCCs) and freight forwarders—and two unlicensed entities operating as ocean transportation intermediaries (OTIs).
“These settlements demonstrate one facet of the commission’s vigilant efforts to promote a maritime transportation system which is secure, efficient and fair to all lawfully engaged in the international shipping industry,” said Cordero. “Those who do not abide by our shipping laws pose significant risks, and equally significant burdens, upon the industry and the shipping public. The commission’s actions should serve as a signal to others about the need to take their compliance obligations very seriously.”
British Association of Removers Ltd is an NVOCC based in the United Kingdom, doing business as Movers Trading Club. It was alleged that Movers Trading Club unfairly obtained ocean transportation at less than the rates and charges otherwise applicable and that it provided OTI services to its customers at rates not in accordance with its own NVOCC tariff. Under the terms of the compromise, Movers Trading Club paid $80,000.
Sparx Logistics USA Limited is a licensed freight forwarder and NVOCC based in Charlotte N.C. Commission staff alleged that Sparx obtained ocean transportation at less than the rates and charges otherwise applicable by utilizing rates limited to certain named accounts in MSC and Zim service contracts. It was also alleged that Sparx had provided OTI services prior to obtaining its OTI license. Sparx made a payment of $80,000 in compromise of these allegations.
Azap Motors Inc., a Florida corporation located in Jacksonville, allegedly conducted OTI services without an FMC license, filing a surety bond, or publishing an NVOCC tariff. Under the terms of the compromise, Azap made a monetary payment to the commission in the amount of $60,000 and agreed to the dissolution of Azap as a Florida corporation.
Wilhelmsen Ships Services is a licensed and bonded NVOCC and freight forwarder located in Pasadena, Texas. It was alleged that Wilhelmsen Ship Services operated as an OTI without a valid qualifying individual for over a year. Wilhelmsen Ships Services made a payment of $35,000.
Aromark Shipping LLC. is a licensed and bonded freight forwarder and NVOCC headquartered in Newark, NJ. The FMC alleged that Aromark violated the Shipping Act by providing service to unlicensed or unbonded NVOCCs in the shipment of household goods to the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Under the terms of the compromise, Aromark paid $32,500.
Knopf International Inc. is a Virginia corporation located in Alexandria, primarily offering international household relocation services on behalf of employees of Knopf’s corporate clients. It was alleged that Knopf continued to conduct OTI services without benefit of an FMC license or bond, disregarding written and oral warnings by Commission staff. Under the terms of the compromise, Knopf paid $24,000.
N/J International is a licensed and bonded NVOCC and freight forwarder located in Houston. N/J International allegedly continued operating as an OTI without a valid qualifying individual. N/J International made a payment of $22,500.
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