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Cargo Shipment Assistance

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The Office of Consumer Affairs and Dispute Resolution Services (CADRS) can assist you with problems with shipping cargo on oceanborne vessels in the U.S. foreign commerce.

Entities subject to the Commission’s jurisdiction include:

  • Vessel Operating Ocean Common Carriers (e.g., steamship lines)
  • Ocean transportation intermediaries (including non-vessel-operating common carriers and ocean freight forwarders)
  • Marine terminal operators

Matters beyond the Commission’s jurisdiction will be returned to the complainant and may suggest a more suitable governmental or private agency.

Often, CADRS is able to help solve the shipping problem. In some cases, matters remain unresolved and proceed to litigation. In general, however, CADRS efforts help the parties understand and clarify the issues in a dispute.

Examples where CADRS can assist:

  • Locate cargo and advise how to secure release and delivery
  • Identify the cause of a hold or lien
  • Communicate with an OTI, VOCC, MTO and others that have failed to respond
  • Issues involving equipment availability, charges not previously negotiated, …
  • Whether certain actions comply with the FMC’s regulations
  • Failure to reach agreement with a common carrier regarding a service contract or negotiated rate agreement or negotiated service arrangement

Service Request Form

When requesting assistance, please complete the appropriate form, add any supporting documentation, and submit it to complaints@fmc.gov.

Rapid Response Teams

While the Commission endeavors to quickly respond to all requests for assistance, the Commission’s Rapid Response is available to quickly address and help resolve urgent problems that arise between shippers and carriers involving shipping capacity and service issues. Urgent problems include:

  • Cancelled bookings
  • Rolled cargo
  • Equipment unavailability
  • Cargo stopped in transit

When contacting the FMC CADRS’ Rapid Response Team, please specifically identify your problem, the status of the shipment, and the documentation (e.g., house and master bills of lading, invoices, booking confirmations, etc.) so that we can move quickly to help get the shipment moving or released.