CMA CGM settles $2 million in FMC penalties

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CMA CGM, Vanguard, Shipco settle $2.3 million in FMC penalties

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has struck settlement agreements with three separate firms, totalling more than $2.3 million in civil penalty payments.

FMC revealed that CMA CGM paid $1.9 million to settle charges that it overbroadly defined and used its definition of merchant in a bill of lading to seek payment from a third party who should not have been billed.

CMA CGM has amended its US tariff rules to confine the definition of merchant in bills of lading to shippers, consignees, and people with a beneficial interest in the cargo, as defined by Commission regulations at 46 C.F.R. § 515.2. This assures future compliance.

CMA CGM agreed that, in addition to paying civil fines, it will provide compensation to affected third parties in the form of refunds and waivers.

The agreement includes CMA CGM’s stated commitment to comply with the Demurrage and Detention Billing Rule (46 C.F.R. Part 541) upon the rule’s effective date of 28 May 2024.

READ: FMC sets new detention and demurrage billing practices

FMC reported that Vanguard Logistics Services, Inc. (Vanguard), an ocean transportation intermediary (OTI), paid $175,000 to resolve allegations that it knowingly and willfully accepted or transported cargo for the accounts of OTIs that lacked the required bonds, insurance, or other sureties.

Vanguard has reportedly agreed to conduct an audit of its internal processes and procedures and will give quarterly updates to BEIC on the audit’s progress, as well as a report of corrective measures taken in response to the audit’s findings.

READ: MSC wins FMC case as no OSRA violation found

Finally, FMC reported that Shipco Transport, Inc. (Shipco), an OTI, paid $155,000 to settle three claims of wrongdoing.

According to their respective settlement agreements, Vanguard and Shipco have pledged to assist BEIC in any future investigation or enforcement activities fully.

Recently, Carl Bentzel, Commissioner of the FMC, wrote to US President, Joe Biden, seeking financial aid to staff and businesses that have been stifled by the recent events that have transpired in the Port of Baltimore.

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