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What Is The Federal Maritime Commission?

What's in this article?
  1. Federal Maritime Commission
  2. History
  3. Shipping Laws Enforcement
Importance of the Federal Maritime Commission Number

Federal Maritime Commission

For years, Congress failed at attempts to create a federal agency to regulate transportation inside American territorial waters. After numerous legislative impasses, the Federal Maritime Commission came into being during the summer of 1961. The federal agency has gone through numerous transformations over the past fifty years.

As of 2011, the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) regulates waterborne foreign and domestic offshore commerce conducted in US waters. The Commissions ensures that U.S. international trade is open to all nations on fair and equitable terms and that each nation abides by American tariff and excise laws. The Recent expansion of FMC powers included the protection against unauthorized waterborne commerce activity. Moreover, the FMC now reviews agreements made by groups of common carriers, ensures that carriers charge rates on file with the FMC, and guarantees equal treatment to carriers and those who ship their goods.

A chairman and four commissioners appointed by the President of the United States comprise the leadership structure of the FMC


On August 12, 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed an executive order that established the Federal Maritime Commission as an independent agency. Under the order, U.S. shipping laws were defined as regulatory and promotional. The executive order mandated that the FMC administer the regulatory provisions of shipping laws. Before the establishment of the FMC, the Federal Maritime Board-regulated ocean commerce and promoted the United States Merchant Marine. Congressional leaders wanted to separate the regulatory and promotional components of the Federal Maritime Board. The reorganization plan created the FMC to administer the regulatory provisions of shipping laws.

The Shipping Act of 1984 initiated a fundamental change in the regulatory powers of the FMC. Subsequent regulatory legislation in 1998 signaled an even more significant paradigm shift in shipping regulations. The principle statutes administered by the Commission include the Shipping Act of 1984, the Foreign Shipping Practices Act of 1988, section 19 of the Merchant Marine Act, 1920, and Public Law 89-777. The Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 1998 amended many of the statutory provisions of the previous shipping related legislation.

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Shipping Laws Enforcement

The Commission and the Maritime Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation split FMC enforcement. The Federal Maritime Commission oversees all regulatory laws, including those that govern specific shipments and requirements. The laws serve to monitor and maintain proper shipping policies

On the other hand, The Maritime Administration enforces promotional laws that affect the United States Merchant Marine. In times of peace, the Merchant Marine may participate in the transportation of passengers and goods, though this does not usually include moving shipments. Promotional laws govern the fleet itself and provide regulations regarding the fleet's visibility.

The Federal Maritime Commission

The Federal Maritime Commission's Mission

Despite having its promotional regulatory powers taken away, the FMC retains vast control over waterborne commerce. Congress has delineated the purview of the commission to include the implementation of regulations on the shipping industry, licensing of marine terminal operators and ocean transportation intermediaries, and creation and enforcement of international shipping laws. FMC analysts process and review agreements and service contracts, review common carriers’ privately published tariff systems for accuracy and monitor the laws of foreign governments that have a predatory impact on United States shipping interests. The last mandate has come under increased scrutiny during a time when the United States faces record trade deficits.

Since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the FMC has broadened its reach by closely monitoring foreign ships that port in American cities. This means the agency enforces special regulatory requirements applicable to ocean carriers owned or controlled by foreign governments. In addition, the FMC has stepped up its enforcement of the cruise line industry by managing the financial affairs of passenger ship operators, especially when a passenger ship operator incurs damage to one of its vessels. Passenger ship operators must demonstrate evidence that they have adequate financial coverage for casualty and non-performance.

Streamlining the agency’s sphere of influence has allowed the FMC to devote resources that protect US shipping and maritime trade interests. The FMC monitors activities of ocean common carriers, marine terminal operators, conferences, ports, and ocean transportation intermediaries (OTIs) who operate in the U.S. foreign commerce to ensure they maintain just and reasonable practices. FMC Commissioners have recently stepped up a trade monitoring and enforcement program designed to assist regulated entities in achieving compliance and to detect and appropriately remedy malpractices and violations set forth in section 10 of the Shipping Act.

Importance of the Federal Maritime Commission Number

The enhanced regulation of the American shipping industry underscores the importance of the Federal Maritime Commission Number. The assigned number reassures customers in case a shipment falls behind schedule. The accreditation ensures the FMC will deal with issues professionally in the most expedient manner possible. Additional benefits of having a Federal Maritime Commission Number include the regulation of storage charges so customers do not overpay due to unethical practices. The number also guarantees professionalism in dealing with loss and damage of property. Essentially, the Federal Maritime Commission Number, much like the United States Department of Transportation number, is in place to assist in identifying reputable moving companies and transportation providers.

Of all the mandates directed by Congress, perhaps the most important to the continued success of waterborne commerce is the FMC’s issuance of a number of commercial shipping interests. Customers can rest assured that any entity with a Federal Maritime Commission Number conducts business in an ethical manner.

The Federal Maritime Commission's Mission
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Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing. 

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood. 

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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Mylene Rutllant
It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.

Due to the nature of my work, I must relocate every couple of years to where my company needs me. Because of this, I’ve tested several moving and auto transport companies over the years.

And my choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.

The only time my shipment was delayed was during winter when a snowstorm closed down all the major roads. And they still found an alternative and got my car delivered before roads got unstuck.

When I moved to West Virginia, they picked up my car the very day I called them. I like to think they take special care of me considering all the business I’ve sent them. I’ll continue to support A1 Auto Transport. It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.

Luis Rodriguez
You have my full support and recommendation!

I considered selling my car when I moved to Washington. It was old and rusty, but I grew attached to it. So, I called a couple companies to transport it to my new home, but they both fell through.

The first one couldn’t decide on a schedule. He would constantly change the pickup date till I got frustrated and canceled. The second was insufferable, very rude on the phone, even worse in person.

They started picking a part my car asking me why I still have it. If that’s their opinion of my vehicle, how can I trust they’ll take care of it? If something happened midway, why wouldn’t they just blame it on the car instead of paying up?

So, I cancelled this company as well and turned to A1 Auto Transport. From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!

If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought they were lacking customers, but the email spoke for itself. In just one email, everything I needed to know was there, including a contact number I could use to get more information or confirm the transport.

I called and got things rolling. I was very pleased with the driver. He followed standard procedure and represented his company well. Can’t remember his name, but props to him!

The car arrived in Washington 6 days later in excellent condition. From what I understand, the transport was delayed a bit by a storm, but since the time window was 4-6 days from the beginning, I don’t really care. You have my full support and recommendation!

Testimonial by Cristine Benoit
Cristine Benoit
I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them.

After doing some research, I got even more worried reading about all the scams and accidents that can happen. But, I have work to do and couldn’t afford to drive my newly purchased Mini Cooper all the way to Virginia.

Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport. They are very good at their jobs. I spent more than an hour drilling Joe with various questions, and he never once lost his patience. He saw I was interested, so he bore with me until I was satisfied. The driver was also very courteous and my car was intact on arrival. I couldn’t have asked for more.

By the way, the price we first agreed on stayed the same. There were no delays or unexpected “surprises.” I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

David Osallo
We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10!

We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.

We were abroad during the transport, so the transport was a bit tricky. The driver had to pick it up from storage on short notice and get it to its destination within at most 10 days. I was happy to note it arrived sooner. We got it 3 days early, right when we got home to pick it up. It made getting around way easier. Awesome service!

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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