Shipping Acts Law and Legal Definition

Shipping Acts are those statutes that affect commercial ocean shipping in the international trades and the cruise industry. In the U.S. the primary statute is the Shipping Act of 1984 (prior version 1916), substantially amended in 1998.

The Shipping Act of 1984 imposes obligations on both carriers and shippers, and sets out basic rules for doing business.

According to the act, carriers include the shipping companies who own and operate cargo ships; and the shippers include the importers and exporters whose cargo is carried by the carriers. The act also sets out how other entities, such as ports, terminal operators, and middlemen may do business. It gives carriers the right to cooperate with one another in discussing and setting their rates. The federal agency that administers the Shipping Act is the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC).