SPECIAL REPORT: Skimming fuel surcharges on DOD loads ends

| 7/31/2009

Friday, July 31, 2009 – Brokers and middlemen who made a quick buck by taking all or some of fuel surcharges paid by the Department of Defense will have to end the skimming.

The Department of Defense published an interim final rule in the Federal Register on July 29 that mandates pass-through of fuel surcharges paid on defense loads to the trucker or motor carrier who actually bought the fuel.

The interim rule is in response to legislative language in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 that directed the agency to mandate pass-through of surcharges paid on fuel.

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-OR, originally introduced the amendment, which sought to mandate the pass-through to the National Defense Authorization Act.

It was an amendment that the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association supported from its inception.

The Association worked closely with lawmakers on the development of this amendment, a measure that was sponsored and championed by DeFazio. OOIDA also worked with U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton, D-MO, and U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-CA, who were the chairman and ranking member of the Armed Services Committee and who supported the measure – helping to ensure the amendment’s success.

The interim rule – which went into effect on July 29 – mandates that “the contractor shall pass through any motor carrier fuel-related surcharge adjustments to the person, corporation, or entity that directly bears the cost of the fuel for shipment(s) transported.”

Defense contracts are to include a clause mandating that pass-through.

OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer called the mandatory provision a “big shot in the arm for truckers who haul military shipments.”

Spencer said it was also a testament to how advocacy works and the effectiveness of OOIDA’s Washington, DC, lobbyists.

Does OOIDA see getting the pass-through into law for those military shipments as a big step in it being mandated for all trucking transactions?

“We think the full pass-through of fuel surcharges is just good business ethics,” said Spencer. “It should be the norm rather than the exception.”

– By Jami Jones, senior editor

Managing Editor Sandi Soendker contributed to this report.