The Federal Maritime Commission Newsroom


West Africa and Nigeria Shipments Consumer Alert

March 14, 2012

The Commission’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Dispute Resolution Services (CADRS) has recently received an increased number of inquiries and consumer complaints involving unlicensed ocean transportation intermediaries (OTIs) hired to ship household goods and automobiles to West Africa and Nigeria. Such complaints include, but are not limited to:

  • failure to deliver goods after payment is made by the consumer
  • failure on the part of the unlicensed entity to pay carriers or others
  • holding cargo hostage to force additional payment
  • failure to pay customs duties and related charges leading to cargo holds
  • improperly processing customs paperwork leading to additional charges
  • other delays resulting in charges that exceed the value of the cargo

Consumers can confirm a company’s status by contacting the Commission’s Office of Ocean Transportation Intermediaries at (202)523-5843 or CADRS at (202)523-5807.