The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) is ready to rethink everything they know about freight brokers and agents. Frankly, it’s about time. In recent years, many rogue freight brokers, agents, and dispatch companies have appeared. This created an influx of complaints and phony shipments. It’s a serious problem that the FMCSA blames themselves for. However, now they want to restructure the original regulations to more closely align with new technologies and industry standards. They have a lot of work to do, but the first step is admitting they have a problem.
The first problem, the FMCSA states, is that the current definitions of brokers are open to too many interpretations. The current regulations have multiple definitions of “broker,” “agent,” and “dispatcher.” This causes many roles to overlap. There are many instances where a dispatch service acts as a licensed broker without the proper authority.
The dangers of a dispatch service acting above their station means that there are few repercussions if a dispatch service fails to provide services, or worse, fails to respond at all. With a licensed broker, there are avenues to restore damages. There is nothing like that with an unlicensed dispatch service.
FMCSA Rewrites the Book on Brokers, Dispatchers, and Agents
This comes entirely from the new technologies that dispatchers, brokers, and agents use to secure work. Many brokers and dispatchers use the same technology resources to secure freight shipments. Since they are essentially using the same tools, the lines between where one profession ends and the other begins have become hazy. It’s like the old adage that all carpenters use hammers, but not everyone who uses a hammer is a carpenter.
The solution is simple. Using today’s technology, find exactly what the role is for a dispatcher, agent, and broker. The FMCSA plans to do this by outlining exactly what the definition of each profession is and rewriting the regulations with these new definitions. Luckily, they’re smart enough to know that they can’t do it alone. While they find the vague regulations, the FMCSA has a questionnaire they want everyone in the industry to fill out. This should help them identify exactly how to write the future regulations to prevent any more misinterpretations.