MAP-21 : Reliant Transportation Responds
A lot of questions and concerns were raised by the article on TransportTopics.com by LoadTraining.com’s David Dwinell on the provisions and changes of MAP-21. For those just hearing about MAP-21 for the first time, I encourage you go to the DOT website (then click on the phrase “Moving ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act”) and learn more about it. We want to outline the major points of the new regulations that we feel will affect the agricultural freight sector the most, and address the points made in Dwinell’s article. The factors in MAP-21 that will affect our sector the most are:
- Requires EOBRs (Event On Board Recorders) within the next 2 years, however no date for that has been set.
- Increases the brokers bond from $10,000 to $75,000. It imposes stricter regulations and transparency of the bond companies in the consideration of claims against the bond.
- Creates a Unified Registration System (URS): Motor carriers, brokers, or freight forwarders must be registered to do business for each function separately. Motor Carriers can’t broker loads unless they have a brokers authority, brokers can’t act or represent themselves as a motor carrier, etc. MAP-21 gives the regulators the authority to fine anyone not properly licensed up to $10,000 for each occurrence (load).
The points in the article that we feel are incorrect are:
- The TransportationTopic.com article references the point that all shippers must make out the bill of lading only in the name of the actual carrier, meaning brokers or logistics companies cannot be in possession of your cargo. According to TIA (Transportation Information Association), all of these rules have to be clarified by the legal system for the regulators. It is an industry best practice and something recommended that shippers definitely do. This is because with the highly litigious nature of liability on the roadway in case of an accident, it is prudent that all bills of lading be correctly filled out. The TIA does not think that MAP-21 will specifically mandate this or fine shippers if it isn’t done, but it is still a very wise idea if they all do.
- The statement that every form of “truck brokering” is outlawed is just misinformed and incorrect. As is the statement “double brokering is prohibited”. As long as you are a licensed broker in good standing, MAP-21 does not change anything.
- MAP-21 is going to change our industry. It is gateway legislation mandating an increased regulatory presence in the truck transportation industry, and more regulations add additional costs. For the small family owned firms that make up our agricultural freight carrier force, it will be especially burdensome. The results will be fewer carriers, higher costs, and the need for better planning to attain or even maintain current efficiencies.
- The quality of your business partners will become of even greater importance. Is your business partner abiding by all the applicable laws? Do they on-board the carriers they use, check proper authority, insurance coverage, etc. Do they utilize industry best practices to protect their customers, carriers and business partners? These answers matter in today’s environment, now more than ever.
- The agricultural freight sector, customers, carriers, origins, and destinations need to come together to have a bigger voice in the legislation that affects them. Today this sector isn’t adequately influencing the legislation that governs it. The legislation aimed at the consumer freight sector occurs mainly on the coasts where the population centers are governing our sector. Obviously the conditions, freight, population densities, and miles involved are vastly different. It is the responsibility of all of us to let our legislators know that difference and that it is important that present and future legislation make that distinction.