What is a NVOCC ?
An NVOCC is a common carrier that holds itself out to the public to provide ocean transportation, issues its own house bills of lading or equivalent document, but does not operate the vessels by which ocean transportation is provided. Companies may obtain both licenses and may act in both capacities even on the same shipment. The U.S. legal distinction between the two is that a freight forwarder acts as the agent of a principal (typically a shipper or consignee) and the NVOCC is a transportation company (carrier) that is physically responsible for the carriage of goods and acts as its own principal. Companies acting strictly as an Ocean Freight Forwarder typically do not issue their own contract of carriage (bill of lading) and as agent are generally not liable for physical loss or damage to cargo except in cases of errors in judgment or paperwork or fiduciary responsibility. NVOCC’s act as ocean freight carrier and issue their own bill of lading and are legally responsible for physical loss or damage in accordance with the terms and conditions of their bill of lading and tariff.