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FMCSA to hold broker transparency listening session Oct. 28

Broker listening session to be held Oct. 28. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will hold a listening session on three pending petitions on broker transparency on Oct. 28.

“FMCSA would like to hear from members of the public on their views on the regulation of property carrier brokers in general and on three pending petitions concerning specific property carrier broker regulation issues,” the agency announced in a document released Friday.

Two of the petitions, from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and the Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC), seek to strengthen brokers’ reporting requirements.

A third petition submitted in August by the Transportation Intermediaries Association, which represents brokers, requests that FMCSA “eliminate outdated regulation that no longer applies in the current marketplace.” TIA is also seeking guidance on “what constitutes a legitimate ‘dispatch service’ to remove ‘unethical and unscrupulous actors from the marketplace’ and eliminate an administrative burden on FMCSA to enforce outdated and unnecessary regulations,” according to the agency.

“Given that the TIA petition expresses a different perspective than those expressed in the OOIDA and SBTC petitions, FMCSA would like to hear from members of the public on their views on the regulation of property carrier brokers in general and on the three petitions specifically,” FMCSA stated. Comments on the OOIDA and SBTC petitions are due Oct. 19.

The session will be held via videoconference from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Written comments are being accepted for discussion as well and should be submitted at least seven business days in advance of the session. Details on how the public can participate can be found here.

Tension between owner-operator truckers and the brokers they use to find and book their loads was raised to new levels earlier this year, including allegations raised by drivers that brokers were taking advantage of them through price gouging. President Trump weighed in on the issue on the side of owner-operators during a “May Day” rally held by drivers for two weeks in May.

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  1. Araceli

    I agree with brokers getting regulated. Truckers leave their families for weeks at a time and have a dangerous job. They also spend so much money on maintenance and go through so much out on the road, they need to get compensated properly. We need more organization defending them and supporting them because it is not a job anyone could do.

  2. John

    In a world that seems to have an endless supply of incompetent Owner Operators this is the most ignorant idea they keep complaining about.

    Upside is that the business people that focus on building relationships by providing a quality service don’t want anything to do with the huge number of bottom feeders that bought jobs and expect their participation trophy.

    1. Mrbigr504

      Yeah whatever “Mr.Rhodes Scholar”, let’s get everything on the table so we can see what’s what and who’s getting what they’re supposed to get! We have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world plus the overhead of maintenance and taking care of our homes and families. Not to mention medical coverage! So he’ll yeah, SHOW ME THE MONEY!

      1. Andrew

        “see what’s what and who’s getting what they’re supposed to get!”

        What are brokers “suppose” to get? If you’re an owner operator and you’re getting properly compensated, why would it matter who’s making what?

  3. Andrew

    Agree 100% that owner operators should be fairly compensated for their work. The way they are compensated is what differentiates a good broker company vs an unethical and unscrupulous one; however, for some reason or another, owner operators have always had an issue with broker companies and it’s not necessarily about pay.

    Many owner operators have this idea that brokers shouldn’t be making their profits because they’re not the ones “doing” the job. They assume brokers are just sitting around making money by doing nothing. What they don’t understand or choose not to understand is that brokers also have operating costs just like they do. Honest and ethical broker companies spend thousands of dollars promoting, advertising and marketing their services to bring in potential customers which in turn create jobs for them.

    To avoid dealing or depending on brokers for work, owner operators should have marketing and advertising plan in place that will keep them booked. Just saying 🙂

    1. Timothy Anderson

      I’ve seen brokers on YouTube sitting in their underwear bragging about making 300 dollars off one load. You must not know all the overhead thats is involved with a truck. It needs to be where shippers post their own loads on the load board and do away with brokers. Im sure that one person in the shipping office can handle that.

  4. Rich

    It only took us 1 time getting gouged with extra fees from a broker before we stopped using him. When payment arrived 6 weeks late and had 100s of dollars of deductions for things like “dispatch fee”, “appointments”, and “routing”, we quickly realized we wouldn’t be using him again. Eventually, we got our own broker authority and now work directly with a group of shippers who call us for our trucks.

    Independents who keep crying “it’s not fair” are like adults who complain their mom only has the kind of cookies they don’t like in her house.

  5. Albert Ruiz

    Dear Mr. Gallagher would like to thank you for your informative coverage regarding owner operators request for FMCSA to step in and regulate brokering transparency. My name is Albert Ruiz a 32 year old Owner Operator DBA Westsun Produce, LLC from Youngtown, AZ a participent of this years “May Day” slow roll rally. I was one of many owner operators cited for gathering and bringing awareness to the cause but feel optimistic that our efforts will yield a long awaited reform in the way Freight brokering is handled throughout America. God bless and thank you again for your coverage.

    Albert Ruiz

    1. L. Chuck Snow

      Albert, I commend you on your willingness to take a stand on what you feel is right. On the other hand you need to know that many of us decades back lobbied both the US and Canadian governments to deregulate the trucking industry. I never drove any of our trucks around our nation’s capitol to make my point, instead I fought it out in courtrooms all the way to the supreme court. Our little company ( at the time ) TRAFFIX spent almost $1 million dollars over 35 years ago desperately working at getting the government out of our business and now you and your cohorts want to bring them back in? Careful Albert, sometimes you might be sorry for what you had wished for. In 2020 owner operators have a wonderful system to work in. Yes there are some brokerage houses that may take advantage at times but most value our relationships with carriers. Very few owner operators have any insight whatsoever at what it takes to operate a successful freight brokerage as most brokers do not understand trucking.
      Perhaps some good old fashioned cross table dialogue between the two groups could bring some sanity to this issue once and for all and allow the FCMSA to do their real purpose.. keep us all safe on our roads.

      1. Art

        Traffix selling van load ON>PA 900CAD 500 miles; when market rates are at $3 a mile.
        My friend Chuck; you have guys in your company double and triple brokering loads.
        Traffix pays 0$ for any waiting time on any of their produce lanes.
        Traffix refuses to pay a reasonable rate in produce rejection redirection cases.

        And Chuck; the founder of this great company has the audacity to come and say something such as this?

        1. L. Chuck Snow

          Art, if TRAFFIX was actually trying to move freight at $1.80 per mile I do not think that we would be very successful at moving very many of our customers loads when the market dictates a rate of $3.00 per mile. As you know we all live in a very transparent world these days. TRAFFIX charges customers and pays carriers according to actual market conditions just like any other 3rd party broker.
          As for your accusations that TRAFFIX doubles and triple brokers freight if you actually knew anything about our business you would know that we have a very vibrant sales team throughout North America serving our own direct customer’s 15,000 plus shipments each month. Why would we have to go to other brokers to add their volumes to ours? When it comes to paying what you call ” reasonable rates for produce rejection” those rates are set either by the market or the customer. TRAFFIX is acting as a broker and we are a conduit between 2 parties, I have had the good fortune of being in this industry for the past 46 years. I started out as an owner operator and then a fleet operator and then learned the freight brokerage industry at a time when we made the rules as we went along. What we need is dialogue between the 2 sides because brokers need truckers and truckers need brokers. The skillsets required to operate a freight brokerage are as unique as those required to run a truck line of any size.

  6. Tony

    I find it ironic that we are still talking about broker regulations – as a result of the alleged ‘price gouging’ in Q2 – when carriers have had a blank checkbook ever since. When the tables turned in their favor, I didn’t hear a word about brokers lobbying in front of the white house for carriers to be transparent with their operating costs.

Comments are closed.

John Gallagher

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.