Skip Navigation

Federal Maritime Commission OTI Bonds - OFFs, NVOCCs

Federal Maritime Commission OTI Bonds - OFFs, NVOCCs

www.suretybondsdirect.com/surety-bond/oti-or-nvocc-bond-for-fmc

Get Your Free Quote

Who Requires the Federal Maritime Commission OTI Bonds - OFFs, NVOCCs and Why Is It Needed?

Ocean Transportation Intermediaries (OTI) licensed to operate in the United States must post a surety bond (Form FMC-48 or FMC-69) as required by the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC). The bond is mandated for Ocean Freight Forwarders (OFF) and Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers (NVOCC) to ensure compliance with FMC regulations and the Ocean Shipping Reform Act.

The OTI bond amount is typically $50,000 for Ocean Freight Forwarders (OFFs), $75,000 for Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers (NVOCCs) domiciled in the United States, and $150,000 for unlicensed NVOCCs not domiciled in the United States. Bond amounts required by the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) may be higher under certain circumstances. All of our surety companies underwriting these bonds are acceptable to the U.S. Department of Treasury as required by the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC). NVOCCs wishing to serve in the U.S.-China trade may file Optional Rider for Additional NVOCC Financial Responsibility, to meet the Chinese government's financial responsibility requirements. This rider adds an additional $21,000 to the NVOCC bond.  

If you are operating as a freight broker in the United States, you may need a Freight Broker Bond (BMC-84) rather than an OTI Bond.

How Much Will My Surety Bond Cost?

Take 2 minutes to provide the basic information required to get the best rates for your Federal Maritime Commission OTI Bonds - OFFs, NVOCCs. The quote request is free and there is no obligation to you. If you prefer, please call 1‐800‐608‐9950 to speak with one of our friendly bond experts. We can help guide you through the bonding process and identify the lowest cost in the market for your situation.

If you are interested in spreading out the cost of your bond over time, we can offer convenient financing plans for many types of surety bonds. More information will be provided with your quote.

How Does the FMC Classify Ocean Transportation Intermediaries (OTIs)?

Ocean Transportation Intermediaries (OTIs) are classified as either Ocean Freight Forwarders (OFFs) or Non-Vessel-Operating Common Carriers (NVOCCs) and are regulated by the FMC pursuant to the Shipping Act of 1984.

An Ocean Freight Forwarder (OFF) is defined by the FMC as an individual or company located in the U.S. that:

  • arranges cargo movement to an international destination
  • dispatches shipments from the United States via common carriers and books or otherwise arranges space for those shipments on behalf of shippers
  • prepares and processes the documentation and performs related activities pertaining to those shipments

Before commencing operations in the United States Trades, OFFs are required to obtain a license from the FMC (46 CFR § 515.3) and submit a surety bond or other accepted proof of financial responsibility.

Non-Vessel-Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) is defined by the FMA as individual or company that:

  • holds itself out to the public as a common carrier to provide ocean transportation, issue its own house bill of lading or equivalent document, and does not operate the vessels by which ocean transportation is provided
  • is a shipper in its relationship with the vessel-operating common carrier involved in the movement of cargo

Before commencing operations in the United States Trades, NVOCCs are required to obtain a license from the FMC (46 CFR § 515.3), submit a surety bond or other accepted proof of financial responsibility, and publish a tarrif (46 CFR § 520.3)

How Do I Apply for an OTI License?

A license from the FMC is required for U.S.-based companies or sole proprietors operating as Ocean Freight Forwarders (OFF) or Non-Vessel-Operating Common Carriers (NVOCCs). Licensing is optional for Non-U.S.-based NVOCCs.

U.S.–based NVOCCs and OFFs application process:

  1. Appoint a qualifying individual who has at least three years of “demonstrable” OTI experience in the United States and who is either an officer of the applicant's corporation, the sole proprietor, or a partner in a partnership.
  2. Submit electronically or print out and complete an application for a License as an Ocean Transportation Intermediary (Form FMC-18).
  3. Provide a surety bond (FMC-48) or other proof of financial responsibility
  4. Pay the required license application fee.

Non-U.S.–based NVOCCs application process:

  1. Appoint a qualifying individual who has at least three years of “demonstrable” OTI experience in the United States and who is either an officer of the applicant's corporation, the sole proprietor, or a partner in a partnership.
  2. Submit electronically or print out and complete an application for a License as an Ocean Transportation Intermediary (Form FMC-18).
  3. Provide a surety bond (FMC-48) or other proof of financial responsibility
  4. Pay the required license application fee.
  5. Establish a presence in the United States such as an unincorporated branch office.

In order to make changes to your information including qualifying individual, name, address, business structure change, additions or removals of trade names, other changes to information reported on the original Form FMC-18, you will need to file the Form FMC-18.

What Are the Surety Bond Requirements?

NOTE: In accordance with Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) requirements, all of our Surety Bonds Direct partner underwriting companies are acceptable to the U.S. Department of Treasury.

Licensed, U.S.-based NVOCCs and OFFs must submit proof of financial responsibility (most commonly in the form of a surety bond), in a coverage amount of $50,000 for an ocean freight forwarder license or $75,000 for NVOCC license. The FMC also requires addresses for each unincorporated branch office in the United States performing OTI services.

Licensed, Non-U.S.-based NVOCCs must submit proof of financial responsibility in the amount of $75,000.

Non-U.S.-based NVOCCs, unless licensed, must submit proof of financial responsibility in the amount of $150,000; and are required to use a licensed OTI for any OTI services performed on its behalf in the United States.

What Does the FMC Surety Bond Protect Against?

The FMC-48 Ocean Transportation Intermediary (OTI) Bond for NVOCCs or Freight Forwarders is written to provide evidence of financial responsibility for OTIs (46 CFR part 515) and guarantee compliance with Section 19 of the Shipping Act (46 U.S.C. 40901-40904), and the rules and regulations of the Federal Maritime Commission. This bond is furnished by entities operating as OTIs in the waterborne foreign commerce of the United States in accordance with the Shipping Act of 1984, 46 U.S.C. 40101-41309.

The surety bond covers payments for judgments obtained or settlements made related to a valid claim for damages under 46 CFR 515.23 against the bonded principal arising from transportation-related activities under the Shipping Act, an order for reparations issued pursuant to section 11 of the Shipping Act, or a penalty assessed against the principal pursuant to section 13 of the Shipping Act (46 U.S.C. 41107-41109) to the benefit of the Federal Maritime Commission.

The surety bond shall not cover shipments of used household goods and personal effects for the Department of Defense or the federal civilian executive agencies shipping under the International Household Goods Program administered by the General Services Administration.

BBB A+ Rating
SSL site seal - click to verify