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§ 1718. Ocean transportation intermediaries
No person in the United States may act as an ocean transportation intermediary unless that person holds a license issued by the Commission. The Commission shall issue an intermediary’s license to any person that the Commission determines to be qualified by experience and character to act as an ocean transportation intermediary.
No person may act as an ocean transportation intermediary unless that person furnishes a bond, proof of insurance, or other surety in a form and amount determined by the Commission to insure financial responsibility that is issued by a surety company found acceptable by the Secretary of the Treasury.
A bond, insurance, or other surety obtained pursuant to this section—
shall be available to pay any order for reparation issued pursuant to section
1713 of this Appendix, or any penalty assessed pursuant to section
1712 of this Appendix;
may be available to pay any claim against an ocean transportation intermediary arising from its transportation-related activities described in section
(17) of this Appendix with the consent of the insured ocean transportation intermediary and subject to review by the surety company, or when the claim is deemed valid by the surety company after the ocean transportation intermediary has failed to respond to adequate notice to address the validity of the claim; and
shall be available to pay any judgment for damages against an ocean transportation intermediary arising from its transportation-related activities under section
(17) of this Appendix, provided the claimant has first attempted to resolve the claim pursuant to subparagraph (B) of this paragraph and the claim has not been resolved within a reasonable period of time.
The Commission shall prescribe regulations for the purpose of protecting the interests of claimants, ocean transportation intermediaries, and surety companies with respect to the process of pursuing claims against ocean transportation intermediary bonds, insurance, or sureties through court judgments. The regulations shall provide that a judgment for monetary damages may not be enforced except to the extent that the damages claimed arise from the transportation-related activities of the insured ocean transportation intermediary, as defined by the Commission.
An ocean transportation intermediary not domiciled in the United States shall designate a resident agent in the United States for receipt of service of judicial and administrative process, including subpoenas.
Suspension or revocation
The Commission shall, after notice and hearing, suspend of revoke a license if it finds that the ocean transportation intermediary is not qualified to render intermediary services or that it willfully failed to comply with a provision of this chapter or with a lawful order, rule, or regulation of the Commission. The Commission may also revoke an intermediary’s license for failure to maintain a bond, proof of insurance, or other surety in accordance with subsection (b)(1) of this section.
A person whose primary business is the sale of merchandise may forward shipments of the merchandise for its own account without a license.
Compensation of intermediaries by carriers
A common carrier may compensate an ocean transportation intermediary, as defined in section
(17)(A) of this Appendix, in connection with a shipment dispatched on behalf of others only when the ocean transportation intermediary has certified in writing that it holds a valid license, if required by subsection (a) of this section, and has performed the following services:
Engaged, booked, secured, reserved, or contracted directly with the carrier or its agent for space aboard a vessel or confirmed the availability of that space.
Prepared and processed the ocean bill of lading, dock receipt, or other similar document with respect to the shipment.
No common carrier may pay compensation for services described in paragraph (1) more than once on the same shipment.
No ocean transportation intermediary may receive compensation from a common carrier with respect to a shipment in which the intermediary has a direct or indirect beneficial interest nor shall a common carrier knowingly pay compensation on that shipment.
No conference or group of 2 or more ocean common carriers in the foreign commerce of the United States that is authorized to agree upon the level of compensation paid to an ocean transportation intermediary, as defined in section
(17)(A) of this Appendix, may—
deny to any member of the conference or group the right, upon notice of not more than 5 calendar days, to take independent action on any level of compensation paid to an ocean transportation intermediary, as so defined; or
agree to limit the payment of compensation to an ocean transportation intermediary, as so defined, to less than 1.25 percent of the aggregate of all rates and charges which are applicable under a tariff and which are assessed against the cargo on which the intermediary services are provided.
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