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Q: Steps necessary to begin freight forwarding... ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Steps necessary to begin freight forwarding...
Category: Business and Money > Small Businesses
Asked by: lycon-ga
List Price: $100.00
Posted: 22 Jan 2005 11:19 PST
Expires: 21 Feb 2005 11:19 PST
Question ID: 461585
What steps must be taken to get the appropriate licensing to act as an
ocean & air freight forwarder?

I know that a surety bond and licensing by the FMC are required for
ocean freight (am looking to act both as a forwarder and NVOCC) and to
become a IAC for air freight I know that a TSA endorsement of your
security program is required and that IATA & CASS membership would be
preferable but are not necessary.  But what are the steps taken to
obtain these?

I have quite a bit of operational experience in freight forwarding but
have not been involved in the actual creation of a new freight
forwarding company.

Am looking for...
Specific, step-by-step details for a company to obtain proper
licensing and all necessary approvals to begin acting as an
international ocean and air freight forwarder.  Please also include
contact information, sample surety companies, web sites, etc in the
Texas area that would be helpful.

Am not looking for...
Information on how to form a general business - i.e. how to begin an
LLC, how to incorporate, etc.
Subject: Re: Steps necessary to begin freight forwarding...
Answered By: jbf777-ga on 26 Jan 2005 17:44 PST
Hello -

Thank you for your question.  If you need any clarification, please
don't hesitate to ask.

To become a certified ocean freight forwarder and NVOCC, you must
register with the Federal Maritime Commission under form FMC-18, found
at the following link:

Application for a License as an Ocean Transportation Intermediary

The form includes instructions.  The application fee is $799.  There
is a box to check on the form to apply for both freight forwarder and

Once approved, you have six months to submit two bonds, one for the
freight forwarder at $50,000 and one for the NVOCC at $75,000.  Surety
companies in Texas may be found at the following Dept. of Treasuries

Dept. of Treasuries website has a list

You will need at least three years of experience in the US working for
a freight forwarder or as an NVOCC.

Common issues/questions:

1) The form must be typed, or it won't be processed. 

2) Cannot be submitted electronically yet.

3) The more information you give for references, the better.  

4) Make sure you're completely forthright, the government will be verifying your 
     information.  Application questions most commonly "fudged":

    Page 2, Question 5: About office sharing space
    Page 8, Question 18: Make sure you disclose EVERY company.

Industry association certification:

National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America, Inc. Membership

You must adopt an approved security program, per regulation 1548, to
forward cargo on a passenger plane (such as commercial jet liner).  To
accomplish this, you must make a formal request in writing to the
following address:

     ATTN: Nancy Hebel (TSA7)
     601 South 12th St.
     Arlington, VA 22202

In your letter, specify what business you're getting into, and that
you intend to forward cargo on a passenger plane.  Enclose copies of
your articles of incorporation or business license, along with proof
of identity (passport/license; used for background check).  TSA will
send you the program; you'll have to authorize it, send it back, and
wait for approval.

For IATA Membership

For CASS memberships

  FMC: 202-523-5843 (Wilbur and Kathy)
  TSA: 571-227-2229 / Rafael Ramos
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