Alternative Dispute Resolution Services - Federal Maritime Commission - Federal Maritime Commission
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Alternative Dispute Resolution Services

Have a shipping dispute or challenge? Consider using CADRS’s voluntary and confidential ADR services free of charge to resolve problems.

Non-Adjudicative ADR Services

The following services are non-adjudicative, meaning that the parties determine how and whether to resolve a dispute. CADRS staff will not render a decision or require a party or parties to take specific action.

Ombuds and Rapid Response

Use ombuds and rapid response to explore resolution to immediate commercial, regulatory, and other legal problems as they arise. CADRS staff can help parties voice their needs and concerns to create and implement their own solutions to problems encountered. CADRS offers ombuds and rapid response services by telephone or electronically via email.


Use mediation to negotiate and achieve settlement of past or ongoing complex commercial, regulatory, or other legal issues. Parties already involved in Commission litigation are required to call CADRS to schedule a mediation conference to explore whether mediation may be an appropriate way to resolve all or some of the issues in litigation. CADRS-managed mediation can be done either in person or by telephone.


Use facilitation to start or continue a large-scale discussion involving a general topic of industry interest (e.g. best practices). CADRS staff can work with multiple parties to explore ocean shipping-related concerns, ideas, and potential solutions. This service is offered in person.

Adjudicative Service

Arbitration is an adjudicative service, meaning that CADRS staff will review the facts and law involved in a particular case and l make a decision that is binding on the parties.

How do I determine which ADR service to select?

Note: ADR services are not a substitute for legal guidance or representation. Parties should consult with their attorneys to obtain specific legal assistance.