The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will be keeping brokers and freight forwarders on its radar screen thanks to a notice of determination published in the Federal Register.
In the notice, FMCSA acknowledged its authority over brokers and freight forwarders when it announced the continued registration requirement.
“FMCSA … is making a finding that registration of brokers and freight forwarders of non-household goods is needed for the protection of shippers. Accordingly, the Agency will continue to register all general commodities brokers and freight forwarders subject to its jurisdiction,” the notice stated.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association applauds that stance, with a sigh of relief.
When the current highway funding legislation was signed into law in August 2005, it raised some big questions in the minds of some when it came to broker and freight forwarder registration.
The Safe Accountable Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users – SAFETEA-LU for short – included a reference that some people took to mean that brokers and freight forwarders would no longer have to register with FMCSA.
Knowing that eliminating the registration would be a detriment to the industry, OOIDA officials increased its already present efforts on Capitol Hill regarding broker regulation. The Association worked to educate members of Congress and FMCSA officials on the importance of broker oversight and pointed out that letting brokers off the registration hook would have been a big step in the wrong direction.
“The limited oversight of DOT over brokers of general freight transportation is needed today more than ever,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer wrote to members of Congress. “Just as brokers have proliferated in the household goods industry, and have used modern technology to take advantage of consumers, unscrupulous brokers of general freight transportation take advantage of small business motor carriers on a daily basis.”
The letters were complemented by a supplemental petition for rulemaking to FMCSA, which outlined the Agency’s regulatory responsibilities over brokers.
“The problems with unscrupulous brokers have continued to worsen,” Spencer said following the published announcement. “It’s a relief to see that FMCSA officials recognize their important role in this area.”
– By Jami Jones, senior editor