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Federal Maritime Commission

800 North Capitol Street NW., Washington, DC 20573


The Commission

The Commission
CHAIRMichael A. Khouri

Rebecca F. Dye
Daniel B. Maffei
Louis E. Sola

Bureaus and Offices

Bureaus and Offices

Certification and LicensingSandra L. Kusumoto
EnforcementBenjamin K. Trogdon
Trade AnalysisFlorence A. Carr
Consumer Affairs and Dispute Resolution ServicesRebecca A. Fenneman

Chief Administrative Law JudgeErin M. Wirth
Equal Employment Opportunity DirectorEbony Jarrett
General CounselTyler J. Wood
SecretaryRachel E. Dickon

Office of Inspector General

Office of Inspector General
Inspector GeneralJonathan Hatfield | Email:

The Federal Maritime Commission promotes an efficient, fair, and reliable supply system of international ocean transportation; protects the public from deceptive, unfair, and unlawful practices; and contributes to the integrity and security of the Nation's supply chain and transportation system.


The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) was established by Reorganization Plan No. 7 of 1961 (46 U.S.C. 301–307), effective August 12, 1961. The FMC is an independent establishment, regulating shipping under the the Shipping Act of 1984, as amended (46 U.S.C. 40101–41309); Section 19 of the Merchant Marine Act, 1920 (46 U.S.C. 42101–42109); the Foreign Shipping Practices Act of 1988 (46 U.S.C. 42301–42307); and Public Law 89–777, approved on November 6, 1966 (46 U.S.C. 44101–44106).

The Commission is composed of five Commissioners, whom the President appoints by the advice and with the consent of the Senate. The President may not appoint more than three Commissioners who are from the same political party. The term of each Commissioner is 5 years. When his or her term ends, the Commissioner may continue to serve until a successor is appointed and qualified, but only for 1 year or less. A vacancy is filled in the same manner as the original appointment, which may be extended to include a second term. An individual appointed to fill a vacancy is appointed for the unexpired term of the person being succeeded. That individual may serve two complete terms in addition to the remainder of the term for which the predecessor of that individual was appointed.

The FMC posts its organizational chart online.


Adjudicatory Procedures

The FMC conducts formal investigations and hearings on its own motion and adjudicates formal complaints in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. note prec. 551). | Email:


The FMC reviews agreements by and among ocean common carriers or marine terminal operators or by and among carriers and operators, which are filed under section 5 of the Shipping Act of 1984, for statutory compliance and for their likely effect on competition. It also monitors activities under all effective agreements for compliance with the provisions of law and its rules, orders, and regulations.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

The FMC reviews informal complaints and assists parties in resolving disputes. Mediation and other dispute resolution services are available to assist parties in achieving a more acceptable resolution to a dispute at less cost than may be possible in litigation. These services are available before and after the commencement of litigation. The Commission also provides an informal process to adjudicate certain complaints involving less than $50,000 in damages. | Email:


The FMC reviews alleged or suspected violations of the shipping statutes and rules and regulations of the Commission and may take administrative action to institute formal proceedings, to refer matters to other governmental agencies, or to bring about voluntary agreement between the parties. | Email:

Economic Analyses

The FMC relies on the Office of Economics and Competition Analysis (OECA) for support in antitrust economics and competition policy. OECA staff analyzes and monitors agreements that are filed with the FMC and that are between ocean carriers or marine terminal operators or between carriers and operators. These agreements are monitored for effects that inhibit competition and for compliance with FMC regulations and U.S. shipping laws. | Email:


The FMC relies on the Bureau of Enforcement (BOE) to serve as its prosecutorial component. Its attorneys participate in formal proceedings as trial counsel and, with the assistance of FMC area representatives, they investigate potential violations of the Shipping Act and FMC regulations. BOE attorneys also negotiate settlements and informal compromises of civil penalties and may participate in factfinding investigations that are initiated under the Shipping Act or the Foreign Shipping Practices Act. | Email:

International Affairs

The FMC conducts investigations of foreign governmental and carrier practices that adversely affect the U.S. shipping trade. In consultation with other executive agencies, the FMC takes action to effect the elimination of discriminatory practices on the part of foreign governments against shipping in the United States foreign trade and to achieve comity between the United States and its trading partners. | Email:


The FMC issues licenses to those persons and entities in the United States who wish to carry out the business of providing freight forwarding services and non-vessel-operating common carrier services. | Email:

Non-Vessel-Operating Common Carrier Service Arrangements

The FMC receives and reviews service arrangements entered into by non-vessel-operating common carriers and their customers. Cargo moving under these service arrangements is exempt from the tariff publication and adherence requirements of the Shipping Act, on the condition that the service arrangements must be filed with the Commission.

Passenger Indemnity

The FMC administers the passenger indemnity provisions of the act of November 6, 1966, which require shipowners and operators to obtain certificates of financial responsibility to pay judgments for personal injury or death or to refund fares in the event of nonperformance of voyages. | Email:


The FMC promulgates rules and regulations to interpret, enforce, and ensure compliance with shipping and related statutes by common carriers and other persons subject to the Commission's jurisdiction.

Service Contracts

The FMC receives and reviews filings of confidential service contracts between shippers and ocean common carriers. It also monitors publication of certain essential terms of those service contracts.


The FMC monitors and prescribes requirements to ensure accessibility and accuracy of electronic tariff publications of common carriers engaged in the foreign commerce of the United States. Special permission applications may be submitted for relief from statutory and/or Commission tariff requirements.

Sources of Information

Career Opportunities

To carry out its mission, the FMC relies on attorneys, economists, and other professionals.

In 2018, the FMC ranked 9th among 29 small agencies in the Partnership for Public Service's Best Places To Work Agency Rankings.

Contact Information

Contact and other general information is available on the "Contact Us" web page. | Email:

Cruise Vacations

The FMC has posted the brochure "Cruise Vacations: Know Before You Go" on its website to help potential passengers select an appropriate cruise before purchasing their tickets.

General information and additional resources to help cruise passengers are available on the FMC website.


The FMC posts events upcoming events on its website.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Enacted in 1966, the FOIA took effect on July 4, 1967. The law gives a right to obtain access to Federal agency records to any person, except a fugitive from the law. Some records, or portions of them, are, however, shielded from disclosure by one or more of nine statutory exemptions or by specific harm that disclosure may cause. The FMC makes a lot of information publicly available to reduce the need of filing an official FOIA request. | Email:

The FMC maintains an electronic reading room on its website.

Greenhouse Gas Reduction / Sustainable Development

The "Federal Maritime Commission 2017 Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan" is available online. Greenhouse gas reduction is part of the plan. | Email:

"The maritime industry realized years ago that sustainable development is necessary to the survival of people and businesses—whether it is related to maritime transportation, port development, or infrastructure. Any discussion in the industry now necessarily involves mention of sustainability principles. We know that a cleaner environment means economic growth, job creation, and reduced costs with greater efficiency." (excerpted from Chair Mario Cordero's statement on Earth Day 2016)


In 1961, the White House and Congress made a decision that affected international liner shipping companies and the U.S. merchant marine. To learn more about that decision and the establishment of two new maritime agencies by President John F. Kennedy's Executive order, visit the "History" page on the FMC website.

The FMC maintains an online archive of maritime decisions that are associated with the Department of Commerce, Federal Maritime Board, U.S. Maritime Commission, U.S. Shipping Board, and itself. The archive's content begins with the year 1919.


The FMC's law and reference library contains books, directories, encyclopedias, journals, magazines, microforms, reports, and videos. It has specialized material that covers the various segments of the international shipping industry and historical and contemporary regulatory materials that cover all phases of shipping in the U.S. foreign trades. It also has material on economics, engineering, political science, and a collection of legal publications. The library's holdings comprise approximately 8,700 volumes and numerous microfiches, CD–ROMs, and online services. Members of the public may visit the library and use the collection; however, all materials must be used in the library during its hours of operation. Materials are released only through an interlibrary loan request. A librarian is available from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., eastern standard time, Monday–Friday. The library is closed on weekends and Federal Holidays. Phone, 202-523-5762. | Email:

All effective vessel-operating common carrier (VOCC) and marine terminal operator (MTO) agreements on file with the FMC are accessible in its electronic agreement library.

Moving Overseas

The FMC posts tips for protecting property when shipping goods internationally by sea.

Before shipping a car overseas, become familiar with the laws and regulations of the United States and the destination country regarding which vehicles may be imported and the fees that must be paid.


The "FMC Newsroom" posts recent headlines.

Notices of Agreements

Recent notices of agreements filed are posted on the "Federal Register" website.

Open Government

The FMC supports the Open Government initiative by promoting collaboration, participation, and transparency.

Resources / Services

The FMC has gathered its resources and services in one place, on a single web page, for its stakeholders. In the "Audiences" section, resources and services are grouped by audience: public, attorneys and litigants, ocean transportation intermediaries (OTIs), passenger vessel operators (PVOs), vessel-operating common carriers (VOCCs), and marine terminal operators (MTOs).

Social Media

The FMC tweets announcements and other newsworthy items on Twitter.

The FMC posts videos on its YouTube channel.

The Sources of Information were updated 6–2019.