What is the function of the Federal Maritime Commission?

The federal government closely regulates the movement of goods in and out of the nation's ports, including those here in California. One of the regulatory agencies anyone in the industry must deal with is the Federal Maritime Commission. Understanding its role in the import and export of goods may help companies to remain in compliance with its regulations. 

The FMC is responsible for the country's international ocean transportation system. Its goal is to keep the industry reliable and competitive. It also exists to help safeguard the public from deceptive and unfair practices. The agency reviews and monitors contracts to make sure there are no substantial, unfair or unnecessary decreases in transportation services or increases in costs.

The FMC provides a place to receive relief from disputes or shipping practices that hinder the efficiency and flow of commerce. It monitors all things money regarding the industry such as tariffs, shipping rates and interactions with foreign countries. It serves as an intermediary in disputes regarding the shipment of household or personal goods, and cargo, along with any disputes that may arise between passengers and cruise ships. The FMC investigates complaints alleging violations of the Shipping Act by marine terminal operators, ocean transportation intermediaries and common carriers.

These are just some of the duties of the Federal Maritime Commission. Having a clear understanding of what is expected by this particular agency could help avoid ending up under investigation by it. With a business to run, California companies in this industry often cannot afford the time and expense that goes into defending against allegations from this or any other regulatory agency. If allegations do arise, it would be wise to consult with an experienced maritime lawyer as soon as possible in order to avoid inadvertently making the situation worse or to avoid facing fines and other penalties unnecessarily.

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