Why is Bonding Necessary?

  • All freight forwarders, NVOCC’s and their agents are required by the FMC to obtain an OTI Bond to legally handle cargo to or from the United States.
  • Freight forwarders and NVOCC’s who do not obtain the necessary OTI Bond within 120 days of qualification will not be licensed by the FMC.
  • It is a requirement by U.S. Customs and Border Protection that all parties that import merchandise into the United States for commercial purposes or transport imported merchandise through the United States have a CBP Bond.


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Anova Bonding Solutions

Bonds in the international transport industry are a necessary component for businesses handling cargo to or from the United States.

While a bond is not an insurance policy, it is similar to a line of credit that exists but should never be utilized. Bonding companies are specially licensed by the United States Treasury and are akin to insurance companies; however, bonding (or surety) companies are specifically permitted to guarantee payment for an obligation which is backed by a third party. The difference between bonding companies and insurance companies is that if a claim arises, a bonding company has the right to recover the full claim amount from its customer.

In international trade, the two most common types of bonds are required by the United States Government; specifically, the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) requires OTI Bonds and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requires Customs Bonds.

OTI Bonds
The FMC requires all ocean freight forwarders and Non-Vessel Operation Common Carriers (NVOCC’s) handling cargo to or from the United States to obtain an Ocean Transport Intermediary (OTI) license – which pertains to U.S. exports and imports, and applies even when a company is only acting as the agent of another NVOCC. All applicants for this license are subject to an investigation by the FMC’s Bureau of Certification and Licensing. Once the FMC finds that the applicant is qualified for licensing, the applicant has 120 days to submit what is often referred to as an “OTI bond” to the FMC, intended to ensure that the applicant will comply with the FMC regulations. At Anova, we offer our customers OTI Bonds, in addition to our unique “BondASSIST” program (which does not require financials or collateral). To learn more about Anova’s OTI Bonding Solutions, click here.

Customs Bonds
U.S. Customs requires those businesses that import goods into the United States to post a bond (or its cash equivalent) with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to guarantee the business’ compliance with all U.S commercial import laws and regulations. Often referred to as a “CBP Bond,” customs bonds are not intended to protect the importer, nor does it relieve the importer of any of their obligations; instead, such bonds are intended to protect the U.S. economy should an importer fail to comply with applicable laws and regulations. Depending upon the specific activity, Anova offers several types of single transaction/entry and continuous customs bonds for its customers. To learn more about Anova’s Customs Bonding Solutions, click here.