USA Banner

Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Site Notification

Site Notification

U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Civilian Agencies Cargo

What is Civilian Agencies Cargo?

The Cargo Preference Act of 1954 applies to all government-impelled cargo moving in international ocean trade, specifically "Civilian Agencies" cargo, that is:

  1. not covered under the Military Cargo Preference Act of 1904; or
  2. not covered under the Agricultural Food Aid Program.

The Cargo Preference Act of 1954 requires that at least 50% of Civilian Agencies cargo be carried on U.S.-flag vessels.

Household Goods and Privately-Owned Vehicles Programs

Household Goods (HHGs), covered under 46 U.S.C. §55302, and Privately-owned Vehicles (POVs), covered under 46 U.S.C. §55303, must be shipped exclusively (100%) aboard U.S.-flag ships when available, irrespective of cargo origin and destination.


MARAD's Office of Cargo & Commercial Sealift recommends regulations and procedures to help civilian agencies stay compliant with civilian Cargo Preference laws. The office coordinates regularly with private sector shippers, suppliers, ocean carriers, and all applicable civilian Government Agencies to monitor and ensure compliance with the "Ocean Transportation by U.S.-flag Vessels" section of the Federal Acquisition Regulations (48 CFR Subpart 47.5).

See our Cargo Preference Laws and Regulations page for guidance on civilian cargo.


For questions about Civilian Agencies cargo, contact the Office of Cargo & Commercial Sealift

Last updated: Wednesday, January 6, 2021