Questions regarding FMC registered forwarder for shipments to USA

Here are a few questions regarding FMC registered forwarder and documentation, raised by Kashan Faiz Sajjad.. rq

I am a freight forwarder in Pakistan and not FMC registered, I have cargo destined for the US, and I ask my FMC registered agent in the US to issue their HBL. So is this workable? Is there any problem that I am going to face regarding this?

If your partner in USA is an FMC registered forwarder and you are issuing their bill of lading which is also registered by the FMC, it is perfectly alright.. In fact, for shipments to USA, only bills of lading approved by the FMC are allowed..

I am booking at origin on behalf of my contarct with the shipping line’s origin office, but issuing my foreign agents (destination agent) HBL with the cargo. What are the points that I should look at prior finalizing the agreement with my agent to avoid huge billing from thier side. Should I fix certain tariffs in the agreement itself?

On the USA trade with most shipping lines, it is very rare that they will allow you – a non FMC registered NVOCC – to be the holder of the service contract..

As far as i know usually the shipping lines will only enter into a service contract with an FMC registered forwarder/NVOCC.. You will have to work in conjunction with your agent on this one..

If I consign my cargo to my FMC agent in Florida where as cargo is for some other state, then is this ok?

As per my understanding, the FMC registration is national and does not relate to that state alone, so this would be in order..

What if I send the cargo on MBL only, whether it is prepaid or collect, on the name of direct shipper/consignee? Where is the FMC registered BL in this case?

If you are going to us the shipping lines MBL only, there is no involvement of your agent or any other forwarder or NVOCC in the USA..

Any shipping line that operates to the USA must be registered by the FMC as a Vessel-Operating Common Carriers (VOCCs) or ocean common carrier and only then they can issue a bill of lading..

Open for comments.. As these questions are specifically related to USA, if anyone involved in Logistics/Forwarding/Shipping in the USA would like to improve on these answers please feel free to do so..

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25 thoughts on “Questions regarding FMC registered forwarder for shipments to USA”

  1. I have a question for you all. If my agent is FMC reg. and I am not FMC reg. ( I am located in the USA) the ocean shipment is comign into US. My agent is using their own HB/L as they are registered, do I have to be FMC reg. or I dont need to be. Will that work using MB/L and HB/L…. Pls advise urgently.

  2. if shipment is under MBL and direct consign to US consignee, in this case who is responsible to file AMS and ISF?

    • When you say shipment is on MBL I presume there is also an HBL involved.. If so, then the fact that the MBL is consigned to the actual consignee in US is incorrect as the HBL would also be consigned to the same consignee..?? If HBL and MBL are issued then HBL should be consigned to actual consignee whereas MBL should be consigned to the agent of the NVOCC.. In that case the NVOCC is responsible to file the AMS and ISF..

  3. Hi Hariesh ,
    Here is another question for you. We work with our agent in Germany that is non registered. They procure rates directly from a steamship line. We are a US registered NVOCC/Forwarder. The agent would like us to issue our house bill of lading and we have an agency agreement. Can we do this?

  4. dear sirs
    how about if we issue FORWARDER’s CARGO RECIEPT (FCR) for export shipments from India to US, do we still need to be FMC registered.?
    We issue FCR to exporter and as back up we take MBL from carrier.
    kindly advise.
    thanks, gs

  5. Dear Sir,

    Does FMC contract no. is mandatory on released original HBL for USA shipments?

    Your valuable answer shall be appreciated…

    • Dear Sir,
      How about Air shipments exported to US? Can Non US based forwarder exporting shpiments to US just issue their own HAWB ask for other agents within US import cargoes? Or the Non based forwarder from origin have to do the same process as Ocean shipments (something like Registration like FMC for HB/L issue)? If yes, could you please advise us how to apply for this?
      Thank you!

  6. I have shipment and booking with cosolidatore to USA, and our company does not have FMC, should it be a problem or not if this is just a consolidation ? Can we use our HBL (no FMC)

  7. Dear Mr. Hariesh,

    What can happen if non-FMC-registered HBL is issued for a shipment destined to US (in this case, we place booking with a forwarder who has service contract with shipping lines & have them file AMS/ISF for this shpt)

    And how about shipments destined to Canada port? Must we use HBL registered with some organization?

    • In the event you move cargo on BL that is not FMC registered to the USA you are bound to be penalized heavily, the penalties are huge (Usd50,000.00 and more).

      You dont need to have a FMC registered BL for shipments consigned to Canada

  8. I wish to understand the process for a non US based forwarder to get his own BL registered with FMC,
    does the forwarder need separate registration with SCAC ?, how does the forwarder file ACD for the House BL he issues.

  9. Hi Hariesh,

    Just wanted to say that you did well with your explaination above and confirm that you are correct, it does not matter what state the cargo originates from, it can depart from any other state within the US.

    • Hi Anirban, these two are different but unique to USA and a requirement for shipments to USA..

      SCAC code is an abbreviation for The Standard Carrier Alpha Code and it is a unique two-to-four-letter code allocated to transportation companies and is used to identify them in computerised data exchanges..

      Any carrier operating transportation services to USA is required to have a SCAC code and this code should be advised to the US Customs via the AMS (Automated Manifest System).. This code is essential to the communication process with U.S. Customs as this code allows them to transmit load and no-load information to the relevant load ports, only based on which the load port will load the cargo on board the ship.. When NVOCC’s file their manifest, they are required to include this SCAC code as the “second notify” party on cargo declarations submitted to U.S. Customs for cargo booked with the contracted carrier..

      FMC is an abbreviation for The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) which is an independent federal agency responsible for regulating the U.S. international ocean transportation system for the benefit of U.S. exporters, importers, and the U.S. consumers.. FMC registration is mandatory for any carrier operating services in USA..

      The relationship or common factor between these two is the shipment itself as without the SCAC Code or an FMC registration, cargo cannot be imported into the USA..

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