More Glossary Terms


NVOCC in logistics is Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier. An NVOCC is a carrier that provides the ocean freight transportation services of a carrier without owning or operating an ocean vessel.

What is NVOCC in logistics?

An NVOCC buys or leases shipping container space from ocean vessel operators. NVOCCs offer container load and less-than-container load (LCL) capacity to shippers. NVOCCs publish their own tariffs and issue their own contract of carriage, a House Bill of Lading.

An NVOCC in logistics is an intermediary between the shipper or the shipper’s agent and the ocean vessel operator.

NVOCC Companies must register and maintain a license with the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), which updates its Ocean Transportation Intermediaries List (OTI) daily at 1:30 p.m. EST. An NVOCC with an FMC License operates within regulatory guidelines and is authorized to negotiate contracts with steamship lines.

NVOCC companies can provide additional transportation services supporting consignors’ freight movements in addition to ocean transit. Among these:

  • Trucking and drayage.
  • Customs clearance.
  • Freight forwarding.
  • Documentation management.
Additional transportation service capabilities allow NVOCCs to accommodate door-to-door freight shipments. NVOCC companies support the international freight shipment needs of small- to mid-sized businesses and some larger organizations. VOCCs work with large enterprise importers and exporters.
What is the difference between NVOCC and VOCC?

An NVOCC or non-vessel-operating common carrier does not own or operate a ship. A Vessel Operating Common Carrier (VOCC) provides all the services of a transportation carrier and owns and operates its own ships. The largest NVOCCs support end-to-end transportation, including inland transportation movements, from international factory floor to the customer door. An NVOCC can’t control ocean sailing schedules or transit rates but partners with multiple lines to meet diverse ocean transport needs.

VOCCs are commonly known as shipping lines, ocean carriers, or steamship lines. Because a VOCC owns its ocean capacity, it controls equipment, sailing schedule, and pricing. A VOCC owns its shipping containers and offers port-to-port services. VOCC partnerships with rail and dray services support intermodal and cross-dock movements to advance freight shipments beyond the port.

NVOCC and Freight Forwarders

NVOCCs and freight forwarders obtain an Ocean Transportation Intermediaries (OTIs) license from the Federal Maritime Commission. An NVOCC acts as an intermediary between a freight shipper and an ocean vessel operator, providing the services of a carrier and issuing a bill of lading. The NVOCC is responsible for the transportation carriage of contracts, accepting liabilities during shipment.

A freight forwarder is a freight shipper’s agent. The freight forwarder is authorized to act and make decisions. Freight forwarders are responsible for coordinating, procuring, and rating freight shipments using one or multiple carriers, including NVOCCs.

See how MercuryGate TMS supports Freight Forwarders.

How MercuryGate Supports International Freight Shipments
MercuryGate TMS offers shippers and freight forwarders door-to-door shipment visibility for international transportation movements. MercuryGate simplifies complicated ocean with streamlined document management alongside transportation execution processes. Control town visibility allows freight forwarders to procure, plan, optimize, execute and settle global multimodal transportation.

MercuryGate’s transportation management systems support freight forwarders with tools and workflows that automate processes and share data with partners and agents. A cloud-based solution, MercuryGate TMS integrates schedule data from leading providers of ocean, intermodal, air, rail, and road transportation to ensure shipments depart and arrive on time at the optimal cost.

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