A major reason for heavy machinery shippers to work with a freight forwarder is because the freight forwarder is knowledgeable in US laws regarding ocean freight shipping. They understand the limits for exporting and importing construction equipment. They are licensed to conduct logistics legally, without breaking any domestic or international laws. If a shipper were to break these laws, there could be severe consequences.
Recently, the CEO of a heavy machinery manufacturing company in Pennsylvania pleaded guilty to illegally shipping equipment to Iran. In case you did not realize, the US Federal Government issued a trade embargo for shipping items to Iran. The reason is for National Security, as the President feels Iran could produce nuclear weapons. In order for a US company to ship freight to Iran, that company would need to procure clearance from the US Department of Commerce. This CEO who pleaded guilty did not receive the legal clearance to ship there. Instead, it appears their company forged the paperwork for shipping. As many shippers know, transporting machinery requires paperwork like the bill of lading and the dock receipt. Filling out these documents with false information is a crime. And in this case, as always, Federal officials caught the offender.
As a result of the plea, the CEO received 12 months probation and a hefty fine of over $300,000. The CEO could have faced four years in a Federal prison, but he cooperated with officials and cut a deal. Shipping heavy machinery might seem easy, but you need to consult an expert, so that you are following the law. If you break the law, then you could face a stiff punishment.