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FMC Announces Compromise Agreements

November 29, 2001

FEDERAL MARITIME COMMISSION

FMC ANNOUNCES COMPROMISE AGREEMENTS

NR 01-12

WASHINGTON, D.C.



CONTACT VERN W. HILL, DIRECTOR
BUREAU OF ENFORCEMENT AT (202) 523-5783

FOR RELEASE: NOVEMBER 29, 2001

 

The Federal Maritime Commission today announced nine compromise agreements resulting in civil penalties in an aggregate amount of $1,080,000. The agreements were entered into with vessel operating common carriers, a carrier credit agreement, entities operating as unlicensed ocean transportation intermediaries and ocean transportation intermediaries operating as forwarders, carriers or shippers in most major U.S. foreign tradelanes. The compromise agreements are:

Advance Ocean, Inc. Advance Ocean, Inc. (Advance) is an ocean transportation intermediary (NVOCC) located in Hacienda Heights, CA operating primarily in the Transpacific trades. It was alleged that Advance obtained transportation of property at less than the applicable rates in violation of section 10(a)(1) of the Shipping Act of 1984 by improperly accessing a service contract to which it was not a signatory or affiliate and by misdescribing the commodity to the ocean carrier. Advance also was alleged to have violated section 10(b)(1) of the 1984 Act by failing to charge and collect rates and charges as shown in its tariff for these shipments. In compromise of these allegations, Advance made a payment of $25,000.

Fortune Network Ltd. and Multi Express Inc. Fortune Network Ltd. is an ocean transportation intermediary (NVOCC) located in Hong Kong, PRC. Its related consignee, Multi Express Inc., is a licensed ocean transportation intermediary and destination agent based in Hacienda Heights, CA. It was alleged that Fortune Network obtained transportation of property at less than the applicable service contract rates and charges in violation of section 10(a)(1) of the Shipping Act of 1984 by misdescribing commodities on shipments transported under its service contracts with COSCO. Under the terms of the compromise, Fortune Network and Multi Express paid the sum of $80,000.

The Maritime Credit Alliance Agreement and Its Members. The vessel operating common carrier members of the Maritime Credit Alliance (MCA) are Alianca Navegacao E Logistic Ltda., CMA C.M. S.A., Companions Chilean de Navegacao Interoceanica S.A., Crowley Liner Services, Inc., Lykes Lines Limited, LLC, Mexican Line Limited, Tecmarine Lines, Inc. and Tropical Shipping & Construction Co., Ltd. It was alleged that the MCA and its members entered into and operated under a credit information agreement required to be filed, but not filed, during the period from January, 1999 through December, 2000 in violation of sections 5(a) and 10(a)(2) of the Shipping Act of 1984. The MCA and its members made a payment of $50,000 in compromise of these allegations.

Mark VII Transportation Company, Inc. Mark VII Transportation Company, Inc. (Mark VII) is an ocean transportation intermediary (NVOCC) with headquarters in Houston, TX. It was alleged that Mark VII violated section 10(a)(1) of the Shipping Act of 1984 by obtaining transportation of property in the Transatlantic trades for less than applicable tariff and service contract rates and charges by receiving rebates or other rate concessions. Pursuant to terms of a compromise agreement, Mark VII made a payment of $60,000.

Mediterranean Shipping Company. Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) is a vessel operating common carrier with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. It was alleged that in the Transatlantic trades MSC charged, demanded, collected or received less compensation for the transportation of property, or did allow a shipper to obtain transportation at less than the rates or charges established by MSC in applicable tariffs or service contracts, through the device or means of rebating or refunding to the shipper a portion of the applicable rates, in violation of sections 10(b)(1) and 10(b)(2) of the Shipping Act of 1984. In compromise of these allegations, MSC paid the sum of $500,000.

OEC Freight Worldwide Co. Ltd. and Orient Express Container Co. Ltd. OEC Freight Worldwide Co. Ltd. and Orient Express Container Co. Ltd. (OEC Companies) are ocean transportation intermediaries (NVOCCs) located in Taipei, Taiwan. The OEC Companies are related through common officers and ownership. The OEC Companies are alleged to have violated section (10)(a)(1) of the Shipping Act of 1984 by obtaining transportation of property at less than the applicable rates and charges by misdescribing commodities on shipments transported under service contracts with ocean common carriers. The OEC Companies jointly paid the sum of $145,000.

Scorpion Express Line. Scorpion Express Line (Scorpion), located in Miami, FL, was alleged to have violated sections 10(a)(1) and 19(e) of the Shipping Act of 1984, by acting as an ocean transportation intermediary in the Central America trades without obtaining a license and by receiving transportation of property at less than applicable rates and charges by entering into service contracts and receiving transportation services by improper certification of its shipper status. Pursuant to the terms of its compromise agreement, Scorpion made a payment of $20,000.

Transunion S.A., Transunion America Inc. and Cargo Dex S.A. Transunion S.A. and Cargo Dex S.A. are located in Spain, where both operate as European forwarders. Transunion America Inc., based in Maspeth, New York, served as the U.S. collection agent and as consignee or notify party with respect to import shipments being handled by Transunion S.A. These three companies (Transunion Companies) have common owners and/or officers. It was alleged that the Transunion Companies obtained transportation of property at less than the applicable service contract rates and charges of an ocean common carrier, through the device or means of unlawfully accessing a service contract in violation of section 10(a)(1) of the Shipping Act of 1984. It also was alleged that the Transunion Companies acted as ocean transportation intermediary in the U.S. foreign trades without having furnished to the Commission evidence of a bond or other surety, published a tariff and/or obtained a license as an ocean transportation intermediary in violation of section 19 of the 1984 Act. Under the terms of the compromise, the Transunion Companies paid the sum of $90,000.

Wallenius Lines AB. Wallenius Lines AB (Wallenius) was a vessel operating common carrier with headquarters in Sweden. Wallenius ceased its vessel operations in the U.S. trades in 1999. It was alleged that Wallenius violated sections 10(b)(1), 10(b)(4) and 19(d)(4) of the Shipping Act of 1984 and the Commission's regulations by providing transportation at less than applicable tariff rates for shipments that moved pursuant to service contracts or time-volume arrangements, by allowing ocean freight forwarders to enter into and utilize service contracts and time volume arrangements, by paying forwarder compensation to entities not entitled to receive such compensation and by filing service contracts without proper shipper status certifications. In compromise of these allegations, Wallenius made a payment to the Commission of $110,000.

In concluding these compromises, these entities did not admit any violation of the Shipping Act of 1984. These compromise agreements resulted from investigations conducted by Area Representatives of the Bureau of Enforcement located in Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Seattle and Washington, DC. Staff attorneys with the Bureau of Enforcement negotiated the compromise agreements.