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Civilian Agencies

The Civilian Agencies team works with all government-impelled cargo that is (1) not covered under the Military Cargo Preference Act of 1904, essentially Department of Defense (DOD) cargo, or (2) not covered under the Agricultural Food Aid Program. The team works with the private sector shippers, suppliers and ocean carriers, as well as applicable civilian Government Agencies to assist all parties with their compliance with the applicable Federal legislation on cargo preference. For contact information regarding the Civilian Agencies team, please visit the below link:


The Cargo Preference Act of 1954 (P.L. 83-664), as amended, applies to all government-impelled cargo moving in international ocean trade. It requires that at least 50 percent of the gross tonnage of all U.S. Government-impelled cargo be transported on privately owned, U.S.-flag commercial vessels. The “at least 50 percent” requirement is applicable to the extent such vessels are available at fair and reasonable rates, as determined by the Maritime Administration.

Government-Impelled Cargo

Government-impelled cargo is defined as cargo that is moving either as a direct result of the U.S. Government’s involvement or indirectly due to financial sponsorship of a Federal program or under a guarantee provided through the Federal Government.

Compliance Responsibility

It is the responsibility of each Department or Agency to ensure it and its contractors comply with the Cargo Preference Act of 1954. One of the prime methods to accomplish this is for the Agency or Department involved to have the appropriate clauses inserted in their program contracts and documentation.

Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR)

The Cargo Preference Act of 1954 is administered by all Departments and Agencies, other than Department of Defense, under the Federal Acquisition Regulations as set forth in 48 CFR Subpart 47.5 “Ocean Transportation by U.S.-flag Vessels.”

Reporting to the Maritime Administration

Regulations require that documentation on all government-impelled cargo moves must be reported to the Maritime Administration within 20 working days from date of loading on all shipments loaded from the United States and 30 working days for shipments loaded outside the United States. The reporting requirement applies whether the cargo moves on a foreign-flag or U.S.-flag vessel. A copy of the ocean carrier’s bill of lading, certified onboard, with rates and charges, is considered sufficient to meet the reporting requirements.

Export Import Bank

Export-Import Bank Mission: The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) is the official export credit agency of the United States. Ex-Im Bank’s mission is to assist in financing the export of U.S. goods and services to international markets.

Ex-Im Bank enables U.S. companies large and small to turn export opportunities into real sales that help to maintain and create U.S. jobs and contribute to a stronger national economy.

Ex-Im Bank does not compete with private sector lenders but provides export financing products that fill gaps in trade financing. Ex-Im Bank assumes credit and country risks that the private sector is unable or unwilling to accept. Ex-Im Bank also help to level the playing field for U.S. exporters by matching the financing that other governments provide to their exporters.

Ex-Im Bank provides working capital guarantees (pre-export financing); export credit insurance; and loan guarantees and direct loans (buyer financing). No transaction is too large or too small. On average, 85% of Ex-Im Bank transactions directly benefit U.S. small businesses.

With more than 77 years of experience, Ex-Im Bank has supported more than $456 billion of U.S. exports, primarily to developing markets worldwide.

Visit the Export-Import Bank website: Ex-Im Bank MarAd enforces the requirements mandated by the Ex-Im Bank that 100 percent of certain cargoes generated by Ex-Im Bank loans and loan guarantees are required to be carried on U.S.-flag vessels.

All direct loans generated under Export Import Bank financing are to be shipped exclusively on U.S.-flag vessels.

Loan Guarantees
Cargo generated under Export Import Bank loan guarantees are to be shipped exclusively on U.S.-flag vessels provided the guarantee amount is over $20 million or the term of the guarantee is over 7 years.

For more information see the following link:
Shipping Guidance Ex-Im Bank

Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2018