The Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) filed a petition in November at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) aiming to eliminate illegal dispatching. The TIA is exploring the idea of getting lawmakers to include the changes proposed to the FMCSA in the next highway bill.
Chris Burroughs, TIA’s vice president of governmental affairs, states that “We didn’t try to get language in [infrastructure bills] that were proposed last year, but we consider this more of a priority now, so that’s why we’re considering getting Congress to include it in there this time.”
The consequences of COVID have been especially hard on small owner-operators, who claimed that brokers have been shorting them on transportation rates provided by shippers. The TIA refuted these claims, stating that low rates were a consequence of low supply and demand. When rates began to rise again, many dispatchers and small business truckers called for more rate transparency.
The TIA petitioned FMCSA to include a rule that eliminates old transparency laws. These laws conflict with the currently deregulated marketplace, according to the TIA. The second part of this petition calls for FMCSA guidance on what constitutes a dispatch service, to prevent illegal dispatching operations.
Small owner- operators agree with the TIA’s intentions, but disagree with the methods. This petition will allow dispatchers to be an agent for just one carrier; any more would require a brokerage license. This would add upwards of $2000 in monthly overhead costs that the dispatchers would have to pass on to clients.
The TIA is awaiting feedback from the FMCSA. Jacob Schmidlapp, president of trucking dispatch company Freight Girlz, says that “There are too many gray areas. The FMCSA has to pony up and figure this out.”
The TIA petition is still under FMCSA review.