What is the Difference Between a Freight Forwarder and an NVOCC?

Both an Ocean Freight Forwarder and NVOCC will track your cargo and move it through the supply chain. However, an NVOCC also has the responsibility of being a carrier. As such, they are responsible for your cargo, even if they hire a 3rd party shipper to transport your goods.

What is the Difference Between a VOCC and an NVOCC?

VOCC stands for Vessel Operating Common Carrier, whereas NVOCC stands for Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier. NVOCCs offer services and responsibilities similar to that of a VOCC. However, an NVOCC does not operate the vessel. They are still required to issue a House Bill of Lading, register with FMC and assume carrier responsibilities.

What is a 3rd Party Shipper?

Third party shipping occurs when freight charges are paid by someone other than the sender or the buyer. Often, it applies to a delivery from the supplier to the customer – even though the “middle man” is being billed by the supplier and paid by the buyer. This is written up as a Third Party Bill.

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What is the Difference Between OTIs, OFFs, and NVOCCs?

Ocean Transportation Intermediaries (OTIs) include both OFFs and NVOCCs.


Ocean Freight Forwarders (OFFs) are located in the US and arrange international cargo shipments. This may involve dispatching a shipment or simply booking a space on a vessel that has already been scheduled. OFFs are required to obtain a license from the FMC and submit proof of financial responsibility for claims arising from transportation-related activities.


Non-Vessel-Operating Common Carriers (NVOCCs) are carriers that provide ocean transportation, but do not operate their own vessels. Transportation is contracted out to a vessel owner, but the NVOCC retains responsibility for the shipment. Like VOCCs, NVOCCs issue House Bill of Ladings. NVOCCs must obtain a license and submit proof of financial responsibility, as do OFFs, but they are also required to publish a tariff prior to offering services.

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Schenker, Inc.
Trade Advisory & Risk Solutions
41 Pinelawn Road, Suite 110
Melville, NY 11747
Phone +1 (844) 724-8723 (in USA)
Phone +1 (516) 690-2171 (outside USA)