Highway Act Could Eliminate Forwarder/Broker Registration

In a letter to Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, the Transportation & Logistics Council Inc. noted that “buried in the final version of the Transportation Equity Act of 2005 were new provisions dealing with the requirement for freight forwarders and brokers to register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).” Current language would require only freight forwarders of household goods to register. Similarly, only brokers for transportation of household goods would be required to register.

This action could eliminate the requirement for brokers and forwarders (other than household goods) to carry minimum levels of insurance and bonds, according to the National Industrial Transportation League (NITL).

When Department of Transportation (DOT) officials transmitted the provision to Congress, they reportedly notified Congress of DOT’s intent to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking on the registration issue. The purpose of the notice, says NITL, would be to determine whether shippers and carriers derive a benefit from continuing the registration requirements.

According to the Transportation & Logistics Council, “DOT, in its recent notice of proposed rulemaking regarding the Unified Registration System (Docket No. FMCSA-97-2349) clearly contemplated that both freight forwarders and brokers of non-household goods would continue to be required to register.” The group expressed its concern that eliminating the requirement for registration would also eliminate the requirement for minimum cargo insurance for freight forwarders, surety bonds for brokers, registered agents for service of process “and other relevant regulations that are in the public interest.” The deadline for comments on Docket FMCSA-97-2349 was August 17th.

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