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S. 4040: Ship Agent Licensure Act of 2022

The text of the bill below is as of Apr 7, 2022 (Introduced).



2d Session

S. 4040


April 7, 2022

(for himself and Mr. Whitehouse) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation


To amend subtitle IV of title 46, United States Code, with respect to ship agents, and for other purposes.


Short title

This Act may be cited as the Ship Agent Licensure Act of 2022.



Section 40102 of title 46, United States Code, is amended—


by redesignating paragraphs (22) through (26) as paragraphs (23) through (27), respectively; and


by inserting after paragraph (21) the following:


Ship agent

The term ship agent means a person—


engaged in the business of representing a ship’s owner, operator, or charterer (referred to in this paragraph as the principal) in performing carriage while in a port of the United States; and


who is responsible to the principal for—


port entry, berthing, and departure;


port husbandry services;


crew changes and repatriations;


receiving or releasing cargo on behalf of the principal; or


interfacing with various Federal agencies with respect to port safety, supply chain efficiency, maritime security, and the environment; and


who is not owned or controlled by a common carrier or cruise line.



Ship agents


In general

Title 46, United States Code, is amended by inserting after chapter 409 the following:


Ship agents


41001. Definition of Commission.

41002. License requirement.

41003. Financial responsibility.

41004. Suspension or revocation of license.


Definition of Commission

In this chapter, the term Commission means the Federal Maritime Commission.


License requirement


In general

Subject to subsection (b), a person in the United States shall not advertise, hold oneself out, or act as a ship agent or provide ship agent services in the United States unless the person is domiciled in the United States and holds a license issued by the Commission. The Commission shall issue a license to a person that the Commission determines to be qualified by experience and character to act as a ship agent.



A person whose primary business is the provision of ocean transportation by water may provide ship agent services for its own account without a ship agent license under this section.



The Commission shall establish such other ship agent qualifications as are necessary. In establishing qualifications, the Commission shall consider recognized national and international standards for ship agency.


Financial responsibility


In general

A person may not advertise, hold oneself out, or act as a ship agent unless the person furnishes a bond, proof of insurance, or other surety in a form and amount determined by the Commission to insure financial responsibility.


Scope of financial responsibility

A bond, insurance, or other surety obtained under this section—


shall be available to pay any penalty assessed under section 41109 of this title or any order for reparation issued under section 41305 of this title;


may be available to pay any claim against a ship agent arising from its ship agency services—


with the consent of the insured ship agent and subject to review by the surety company; or


when the claim is determined valid by the surety company after the ship agent 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 a ship agent arising from its ship agency services, if the claimant has first attempted to resolve the claim under paragraph (2) and the claim has not been resolved within a reasonable period of time.


Regulations on court judgments

The Commission shall prescribe regulations for the purpose of protecting the interests of claimants, ship agents, and surety companies with respect to the process of pursuing claims against ship agent 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 ship agency services of the insured ship agent, as defined by the Commission.


Suspension or revocation of license


Failure To maintain qualifications or To comply

The Commission, after notice and opportunity for a hearing, shall suspend or revoke a ship agent license if the Commission finds that the ship agent—


is not qualified to provide ship agency services; or


willfully failed to comply with a provision of this part or with an order or regulation of the Commission.


Failure To maintain bond, proof of insurance, or other surety

The Commission may revoke a ship agent license for failure to maintain a bond, proof of insurance, or other surety as required by section 41002(a) of this title.



Conforming amendments for tables of chapters

The table of chapters at the beginning of title 46, United States Code, and at the beginning of subtitle IV of such title are each amended by inserting after the item relating to chapter 409 the following:

410. Ship Agents41001.