Federal Maritime Commission
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Cargo Shipment Assistance

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:

  • Ocean common carriers (e.g., steamship lines)
  • Ocean transportation intermediaries (including non-vessel-operating common carriers and ocean freight forwarders)
  • Marine terminal operators.
  • International moving companies serving as ocean transportation intermediaries

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

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 of the types of issues that CADRS handles include:

  • Shipper's inability to learn the location of a particular cargo
  • Shipper's problem with defaulting NVOCC
  • Shipper's difficulty in processing damage and loss claim
  • Shipper's, or shippers' association's, failure to reach service contract agreement with carrier
  • Freight forwarder's inability to collect rightful compensation from carrier
  • Trucker's dispute with terminal operator's interpretation of equipment detention rule
  • Terminal operator's complaint concerning the interpretation of a lease agreement
  • Carrier's objection to a shipper's or forwarder's document preparation

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

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

When contacting the FMC CADRS' Rapid Response Team, please specifically identify your problem so that we can move quickly to help resolve it and get the shipment moving or released.