Tuesday, May 21, 2013
For years, many carriers were under the false impression that they could broker excess loads their own trucks couldn’t cover. That was illegal then, it is expressly illegal now. MAP-21 has cleared up the misunderstanding by explicitly outlawing the practice. In fact, carriers who continue the practice after the passing of MAP 21 may now be fined excessive amounts of money for each offense, and face the prospect of civil actions seeking millions of dollars.
Effective October 2013, motor carriers who wish to broker excess loads, or any load, must (a) apply for and obtain a broker’s license; (b) maintain a $75,000 broker bond; and (c) inform the shipper of the carrier’s intent to broker the load rather than haul it on its own equipment, and obtain the shipper’s consent to do so; and (d) experts are also suggesting that many carrier insurers are unaware if a carrier is brokering. So since carrier risks and exposures differ greatly from those of a broker, shippers must also insist to see evidence that a carrier’s insurance covers its brokered loads risks. Carrier cargo does not cover freight that has been brokered by the carrier, unless the insurance certificate expressly states it does. For many carriers, that will require a business restructure, and new endorsements or policies.
We recommend you use a carrier as a carrier only. Leave the brokering to properly authorized, bonded, and insured brokers. Or, you may simply call Tucker.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
FMCSA ADMINISTRATOR FERRO NAMES TUCKER TO CSA SUBCOMMITTEE, SUBCOMMITTEE MAKES RECOMMENDATIONS TO FMCSA
Administrator Ferro named Jeff Tucker to the CSA Subcommittee of the Agency’s Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC). Tucker was selected from many applicants, due in part to his work with the TIA Carrier Selection Framework and many years serving as an advocate and educator in the area of motor carrier safety and shipper and broker liability.
There have been four meetings of the MCSAC subcommittee since October 2012. The subcommittee is comprised of bus operators, state police officials, a truck insurance firm, a large motor carrier, a bus operator, a bus driver union representative, a representative from an owner operator’s group, and two professional safety advocates. Senior FMCSA officials attend and participate in the meetings.
On April 9, 2013, the MCSAC agreed to pass to FMCSA the CSA Subcommittee’s recommendations for improvement to the CSA system. Tucker remains baffled that the agency didn’t recognize and act on the obvious need for these changes long ago, but we believe certain elements within FMCSA have internal agendas that outweigh reason and due process. Those elements seem to be ruling the day. We hope this partial list of recommendations will begin to turn the tide:
- For a carrier’s Crash BASIC, exclude crashes where there is a clear determination that the carrier was not at fault or (in the language of the regulations), the crash was non-preventable. (e.g., don’t penalize the carrier when a car runs into it while the truck was stopped at a red light)
- Evaluate changing the definition of reportable DOT crash for purposes of CSA to include only fatalities or injuries (e.g., exclude deer kills where no cars or people were involved).
- Remove CSA scores from public view (their purpose is exclusively law enforcement) or, at a minimum, remove the Controlled Substance/Alcohol and Driver Fitness BASICs. (Carriers with higher scores in two (2) BASICs are involved in fewer accidents than carriers with lower scores!).
- FMCSA should standardize the data it gathers from the individual 50 states.
- FMCSA should not encourage non-law enforcement personnel (e.g., shippers, brokers, insurance companies, etc.) to use CSA data for carrier selection, and should not provide “guidance” on using CSA data to determine a carrier’s “qualification” for use. The purpose of SMS is exclusively for internal law enforcement prioritization.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
A Transport Topics article from August 15 highlighted an issue we’ve been experiencing, as have retailers, shippers and carriers nationwide. A couple years ago, steamship lines began converting U.S. service from door-to-door, to port-to-port. The conversion is expected to last another two years.
The problems lie in three (3) main areas: (a) who now owns and maintains the chassis?—an ongoing debate, usually leaving the trucker holding the bag; (b) administration and transportation costs have increased for carriers; (c) the maintenance deficiencies with a chassis (not owned by the carrier) are resulting in fines and harmful safety violations against the carrier and driver.
Oftentimes, the chassis is owned by a leasing company with an off-pier or port yard. The carrier picks up the chassis, and in whatever the condition it’s in. The driver has little or no ability to swap a bad chassis for better. The driver is in pressed to move the freight, or risk losing pay; the shipper wants its container without delay; and the chassis yard knows it, and plays its cards.
Driver hooks onto that chassis and drives to the port to get loaded; leaves with the container, and wham—a roadside inspection finds 1, 2, 5 violations on the chassis. The violations go to the carrier and the driver. The driver and carrier and their records are cooked, unless they successfully fight and overturn the violation. As violations mount, the carrier is increasingly targeted by law enforcement, and so on. Adding insult to injury, upon return of the chassis, the leasing outfit may request the driver to repair!
The costs of the added chassis yard stop, then transport to pier, to warehouse, to chassis yard again adds new cost, reduces a driver’s pay and work hours, and increases the overhead of managing the process.
This no-win scenario spells a real fear that drayage carriers have been leaving, and will continue to leave the marketplace, leading to capacity shortages and much higher prices for service. As steamship lines continue their march from the chassis business, chassis yards will be further away from the piers—adding to cost, administration and time spent moving containers.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Jeff Tucker was appointed the next Vice Chairman of the Transportation Intermediaries Association (“TIA”) on April 10, 2013. Jeff’s dad Bill was one of the co-founders of the TIA in 1978, as deregulation was beginning.
Jeff has previously served as Secretary and Treasurer, as well as Chairman of the TIA’s first Legislative Committee, its first Carrier Selection Committee, and Chairman of TIA’s Government Freight Committee.
On April 11, 2013, Jeff Tucker sat with the producers of “Big Truck TV” to discuss carrier selection, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s public policy vs. conflicting agenda tug-of-war, and the new 2013 Carrier Selection Framework co-authored by Tucker as chair of TIA’s Carrier Selection Framework Committee. The interview will appear on its video blog, www.bigtrucktv.com in a future segment.