Secure Great Rates, Reliability with a Licensed NVOCC Freight Forwarder

AIT Worldwide Logistics is a licensed Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) freight forwarder. Read on to learn more about the designation and its benefits for customers.

What is a Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier or licensed NVOCC?

An NVOCC is an ocean carrier that transports goods under its own House Bill of Lading, or equivalent documentation, without operating ocean transportation vessels.

Instead of operating its own ship or fleet, an NVOCC leases space to sell from other ocean carriers, or Vessel Operating Common Carriers. One way to think of an NVOCC is a shipper to carriers and a carrier to shippers.

In some cases, a licensed NVOCC, such as AIT, may also operate as a freight forwarder.

Read on to learn more about AIT’s licensed NVOCC status and NVOCCs in general. Visit fmc.gov for more information.

What is the benefit of doing business with a licensed NVOCC freight forwarder?

As a licensed NVOCC ocean freight forwarder, AIT has established relationships and direct carrier agreements with member partnership associations, co-loaders and global carriers. As such, AIT is able to secure discounted rates and equipped to handle all aspects of ocean freight shipping in most countries around the world.

Is there a difference between an ocean freight forwarder and an NVOCC?

Yes. Although the terms are often used interchangeably, there are a number of differences between the two designations. As a licensed NVOCC, AIT delivers the benefits of both designations, such as the ability to offer a single point of service without having to utilize another NVOCC’s assistance when issuing documentation.

  AIT Worldwide Logistics Freight Forwarding Only NVOCC
Single Point of Service Capability Yes No No
International Association Membership International Federation of Freight Forwarders Association Membership (FIATA) International Federation of Freight Forwarders Association Membership (FIATA) Do not have an international association
Standard Documentation Format Documentation follows FIATA standards Documentation follows FIATA standards No standard format
Relationship to Shippers Agent Agent Carrier
Cargo Container Ownership Manage or hold containers Does not own or operate containers Manage or hold containers
Warehouse Ownership Owns and operates warehouses around the world Typically, owns and operates warehouses used for cargo Typically, does not own and operate warehouses.
Global Cooperation Coordinates with our global network to reduce costs and improve delivery time Coordinates with freight forwarders around the world to reduce costs and improve delivery time Works independently and under their own responsibility


For a deep-dive into the subject, visit the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) resources at FMC.gov.

What is an NVOCC Bill of Lading?

The Master Bill of Lading is a contract issued by the ocean carrier that is between the NVOCC and their agent (at origin or destination), while the HBL is the contract of carriage issued by the NVOCC between the actual shipper and actual consignee.

Who regulates NVOCCs?

International regulations vary; however, prior to offering services in the United States, NVOCCs are required to:

  • obtain a license from the FMC (46 CFR § 515.3) (if a U.S.-based company)
  • submit proof of financial responsibility for payment of claims (46 CFR Part 515 Subpart C) (arising from its transportation-related activities)
  • publish a tariff (46 CFR § 520.3)

Master sea freight complexity

For more information about NVOCCs, visit FMC.gov. To learn more about AIT’s NVOCC freight forwarder capabilities, contact one of our representatives today.

AIT has a robust global logistics network, with more than 60 offices worldwide.

See our Global Network