Today, the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) voted 3-2 to move forward with reforming the Ocean Transportation Intermediaries (OTI) rules, regulating U.S.- and foreign-based non-vessel-operating common carriers (NVOCC) and freight forwarders. The advanced notice of proposed rulemaking will be published in the Federal Register, starting a 60-day notice and comment period preceding the final rule publication.
Under the proposed rule, licensed OTIs will have to renew their licenses every two years. Also, foreign-based NVOCCs must have a U.S. presence that is staffed full-time to be licensed under the new regulations as currently proposed.
Qualifying individuals will have to be at least 21 years of age and have three years of “relevant and diverse” OTI experience, including general supervision responsibilities. Also under the proposed rule, this experience cannot be gained with an unlicensed OTI. In addition, the FMC will be empowered to review a qualifying individual’s character at any time. The proposed rule adds character criteria by which an individual can be disqualified, including violations of shipping laws, operating while unlicensed, or suspension of a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC).
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