Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary, P.C.


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Publication Details

Transportation Brief: Spotlight on The Firm’s Air and Ocean Practice

by Braden K. Core, Nathaniel G. Saylor

September 14, 2022

Freight forwarders that handle air and ocean cargo face a daunting set of legal hurdles at every turn. The Scopelitis Air and Ocean Practice helps clients navigate this often-uncertain legal environment by charting a course to success that aligns with the unique objectives of each business.

With respect to air cargo, our attorneys help businesses with:

  • Start-up and licensing, including with TSA as an Indirect Air Carrier, CNS as an Agent, and DOT as a Foreign Air Freight Forwarder
  • Legal compliance
  • Commercial issues
  • Disputes with counterparties, including shippers, airlines, and ground-handling agents

We have extensive experience with inspections and enforcement actions brought by TSA, the FAA, and other federal and state agencies concerning air transportation of hazardous materials. Our attorneys have defended over 75 TSA enforcement cases involving air-cargo violations, including cargo-screening violations with potential civil penalties totaling nine figures. We pursue a collaborative approach with the companies’ compliance team, working to identify the alleged violation’s root cause and implementing corrective actions that will win the support of the regulators.

As for ocean cargo, the Firm regularly counsels on the convoluted and sometimes archaic rules of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) that limit the ability of a party to arrange ocean transportation to or from the United States without a license or registration. These rules often go so far as to impact how rates and contract terms can be negotiated. It is an antiquated legal regime that requires published tariffs and limits freedom of contract. We are here to help make sense of these rules and to assist in drafting subsequent terms and conditions of service.

Companies may also face commercial disputes concerning ocean transportation, including disputes between sellers and buyers wherein the forwarder is “stuck in the middle” due to a stoppage in transit order. In addition, given the historic levels of port disruption, forwarders can find themselves in the middle of detention and demurrage disputes that may involve hundreds of thousands of dollars. We help companies proactively curtail risk and quickly resolve disputes to minimize business disruptions.

Scopelitis attorneys are involved in the unique challenges of the air and ocean forwarding industry regularly.

Contact Braden Core or Nathaniel Saylor to see how Scopelitis can help your business navigate this complex legal environment.


Scopelitis’ Transportation Brief® is intended as a report to our clients and friends on developments affecting the transportation industry. The published material does not constitute an exhaustive legal study and should not be regarded or relied upon as individual legal advice or opinion.


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