The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is a federal agency whose purpose is to regulate ocean transportation in the United States. It was founded in 1961 and replaced the United States Federal Maritime Board, which regulated both ocean commerce and the Merchant Marine, a group that transports passengers and freight during times of peace.
The FMC is responsible for several particular points, including:
- Creating and enforcing international shipping laws
- Licensing marine terminal operators and ocean transportation intermediaries
- Managing the financial responsibilities of cruise ship lines and passenger ship operators
- (namely when reimbursements for loss or damage are required)
- Looking after the US shipping and maritime trade industries
- Implementing regulations and monitoring rates in the shipping industry
- Evaluating and regulating agreements between shipping lines, marine terminals and customers
- Taking action against unfavorable conditions caused by foreign governments
- Resolving disputes between operators and consumers
What does the Federal Maritime Commission regulate?
The Federal Maritime Commission oversees all regulatory shipping laws, including those that govern specific shipments and requirements. These laws serve to monitor and maintain proper shipping policies, and they are intended to make the industry more secure and safe.
The Maritime Administration, on the other hand, is in charge of all promotional laws that affect the United States Merchant Marine. In times of peace, the Merchant Marine may participate in the transportation of passengers and goods, though this does not usually include moving shipments. Promotional laws govern the fleet itself and provide regulations regarding the fleet's visibility.
How important is the Federal Maritime Commission number?
International movers should always have a Federal Maritime Commission Number. Having this accreditation ensures that any issues will be dealt with professionally and helps to regulate charges (including those for storage), so that customers do not overpay due to unethical practices. The number guarantees professionalism in dealing with loss and damage of property.
Essentially, the Federal Maritime Commission number is much like the USDOT number -- in place to assist in identifying reputable moving companies and transportation providers. It is very easy to misrepresent details online, so only hire a moving company that provides a verified FMC number.
Get estimates from several moving companies to ensure that your quote is reasonable within the industry. All estimates need to be based on seeing and measuring your shipment. Avoid agreeing to anything over the phone without in-person consultations, and, like always, look for a mover who has a good track record with at least 10 years of continuous experience.