FMC Collects $962,500 In Penalty Payments
FMC Collects $962,500 In Penalty Payments
Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Mario Cordero announced that the Commission has completed compromise agreements recovering a total of $962,500 in civil penalties. The agreements were reached with one vessel-operating common carrier and nine ocean transportation intermediaries (both non-vessel-operating common carriers and ocean freight forwarders). The agreed penalties resulted from investigations conducted by the Commission’s Area Representatives in Houston, New York and Seattle, and by Washington D.C. headquarters staff. The parties settled and agreed to penalties, but did not admit to violations of the Shipping Act or Commission regulations.
In making the announcement, Chairman Cordero stated: “Through the investigative and enforcement efforts which have given rise to these agreements, the Commission strives to address past violations, as well as to deter similar conduct throughout the industry. The hard work of our Area Representatives and Bureau of Enforcement ensures that the entities we regulate operate within the boundaries established by the Shipping Act, in furtherance of our statutory mission to foster a fair, efficient and secure maritime transportation system for all.”
The compromise agreements are:
Honour Lane Shipping Limited; Global Ocean Agency Lines LLC; and World Express Shipping, Transportation and Forwarding Services, Inc.
Honour Lane Shipping Limited (Honour Lane) is registered with the Commission as a foreign-based non-vessel-operating common carrier (NVOCC) with its principal office in Hong Kong. Global Ocean Agency Lines LLC (GOAL) is a licensed NVOCC with its principal place of business in Barrington, IL, and World Express Shipping, Transportation and Forwarding Services, Inc. (WEST), located in Middleburg Heights, OH, is licensed as an NVOCC and ocean freight forwarder. It was alleged that the three entities collaborated in an arrangement whereby Honour Lane knowingly and willfully allowed GOAL and WEST access to certain contracts between Honour Lane and several ocean carriers to which neither GOAL nor WEST was a party and that GOAL and WEST, in turn, obtained transportation of property at less than the rates and charges that were otherwise applicable by improperly accessing those contracts. The three companies collectively made a monetary payment in the amount of $300,000 in compromise of these allegations.
RS Logistics Limited (RS) is a foreign-based NVOCC located in Hong Kong and registered with the Commission. It was alleged that RS knowingly and willfully obtained ocean transportation at rates and charges less than would otherwise be applicable by accessing service contracts to which it was not a signatory. RS also provided service in the liner trade and charged its NVOCC customers rates and charges that were not in accordance with its published tariff. Under the terms of the compromise agreement, RS paid $75,000 in penalties.
Hyundai Glovis Co., Ltd. (Glovis) is a South Korean company registered with the Commission as a vessel-operating common carrier, which, among other things, provides roll on / roll off services for the transportation of automobiles and other rolling stock from Korea to the U.S. and elsewhere. It was alleged that Glovis violated the Shipping Act by participating under certain space charter agreements with other carriers which had not been filed with the Commission or not yet become effective. Glovis paid $157,500 in compromise of these allegations.
Worldwide Container Transfer, Corp. and U-Ocean USA, Corp.
Worldwide Container Transfer, Corp. (WCT), South San Francisco, CA, is a licensed NVOCC. U-Ocean USA, Corp. (U-Ocean) also located in South San Francisco, CA, is a licensed and bonded ocean freight forwarder. It was alleged that WCT obtained ocean transportation at less than applicable rates and charges by improperly accessing service contracts to which it was not a signatory, in addition to providing service in the liner trade that was not in accordance with the rates and charges in its published tariffs. It was also alleged that both WCT and U-Ocean operated without a Qualifying Individual for a period in excess of one year in violation of Commission regulations. Respondents made a joint payment of $220,000 in civil penalties.
United Transport Tankcontainers, Inc.
United Transport Tankcontainers, Inc. (UTT) is a licensed NVOCC based in Houston, TX. It was alleged that it operated without a Qualifying Individual for a period in excess of one year. Pursuant to the terms of its compromise agreement, UTT paid a penalty of $30,000.
LF Logistics (China) Ltd. and LF Logistics USA, LLC
LF Logistics (China) Ltd. (LF China), based in Shanghai, operates as a foreign-based NVOCC registered with the Commission. LF Logistics USA LLC (LF USA) is a licensed NVOCC located in Jamaica, NY. Both companies were alleged to have knowingly and willfully obtained ocean transportation at less than rates and charges that would be otherwise applicable by improperly using rates limited to certain named accounts in their service contracts for cargo of other accounts. It was also alleged that respondent companies allowed other ocean transportation intermediaries to access certain of their service contracts to which such other OTIs were not signatories or affiliates. Respondents collectively made a monetary payment of $180,000 in compromise of these allegations.
The Federal Maritime Commission is responsible for regulating the Nation’s international ocean transportation for the benefit of exporters, importers, and the American consumer. The Commission’s mission is to foster a fair, efficient, and reliable international ocean transportation system while protecting the public from unfair and deceptive practices.