FMC FINES UNIVERSAL LOGISTIC FORWARDING $1.23 MILLION FOR VIOLATIONS
The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission has issued non-vessel-operating common carrier Universal Logistic Forwarding Co. a $1.23 million fine for violating the 1984 Shipping Act.
The FMC’s Bureau of Enforcement began investigating the activities of the NVO in August 2000. The agency alleged that Universal Logistic Forwarding violated the Shipping Act by obtaining transportation at less than the rates and charges applicable through the service contract of another NVO, Translink, to which it is not a signatory or an affiliate.
The proceeding was then assigned to Chief Administrative Law Judge Norman D. Kline for an initial decision. The ALJ said the FMC should impose a $1.23 million civil penalty against Universal Logistic Forwarding and require the NVO to “cease and desist” operations until “a proper tariff containing realistic commodity rates” is published.
The FMC agreed with the ALJ’s factual conclusions and the issuances of a civil penalty and the cease and desist order as its relates to the NVO’s links to Translink. However, the agency did not agree with the proposed suspension of Universal Logistic Forwarding’s alleged “shell” tariff until another a more realistic tariff is published.
“The commission’s obligation with respect to tariffs is to ensure the accessibility and accuracy of automated systems,” the FMC said. “The carrier’s obligation with respect to rate levels is to adhere to its published tariff. The commission is not in the business of monitoring the reasonableness of those rates and charges.”