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FMCSA targets early 2023 for decision on broker transparency petition

OOIDA, SBTC want brokers barred from blocking carrier access to transaction records

Action on broker transparency slated for early 2023. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Two groups representing small-business truckers should know by early next year whether federal regulators will grant their requests for more transparency in freight transactions involving brokers.

Petitions by the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association and the Small Business in Trucking Coalition (SBTC) seeking more oversight of broker transaction records were published in August 2020 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, seeking comment on the two requests.

OOIDA sent a letter to FMCSA in September pointing out that it has been over two years since the group submitted its original petition. “We believe an update is warranted on where the agency stands on our outstanding petition and related comments from motor carriers,” stated OOIDA President and CEO Todd Spencer.

FMCSA “has been considering the issues raised by OOIDA’s petition for rulemaking and based on that work is targeting early 2023 to issue a decision,” the agency stated when asked to comment on the groups’ rulemaking request.

“When assessing possible broker transparency rulemaking, FMCSA’s role is to remain within the bounds of our statutory authorities and also takes into account whether and how additional rulemaking will effectively and efficiently resolve the issues identified,” FMCSA added.

Specifically, OOIDA requested that regulations on broker records (49 CFR 371.3) be amended to require brokers to provide an electronic copy of each transaction record automatically within 48 hours after the contractual service has been completed. It also requested that FMCSA prohibit brokers from including contract provisions requiring carriers to waive their rights to access their transaction records. 


“OOIDA’s recommendations to enhance compliance … are not attempts to control rates or impose burdensome requirements, but would simply ensure that motor carriers have access to documents they have the right to view,” Spencer stated.

Such documents are supposed to include the amount the broker received for its service and the name of the payer, as well as the amount of any freight charge collected by the broker and the date it was paid to the carrier.

SBTC’s petition similarly asks that FMCSA prohibit brokers “from coercing or otherwise requiring parties to brokers’ transactions to waive their right to review the record of the transaction as a condition for doing business,” FMCSA stated in the petition notice.

Months after FMCSA’s comment request on OOIDA and SBTC’s petitions, the agency issued a notice and comment period for an opposing petition by the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) — which represents truck brokers — asking that FMCSA repeal the current provision in the regulations that gives carriers the right to review the broker transaction record.

“TIA believes that 49 CFR 371.3(2) should be eliminated because it hinders supply chain functionality as well as a free, open, and competitive marketplace,” a TIA spokesperson told FreightWaves. “The regulation is outdated, unnecessary and will continue to be used as a tool to try to re-regulate the industry, which runs contrary to the intent of the Interstate Commerce Commission’s rules back when they were enacted in 1980.”

FMCSA confirmed it is still considering the issues raised in TIA’s petition, with a target date of early 2023 for a decision on whether to publish a rulemaking on their request as well.

OOIDA and SBTC filed their petitions at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic amid accusations that brokers were colluding on prices. The allegations were repeated by then-President Donald Trump but were rejected by Robert Voltmann, TIA’s president at the time, who stated that there was simply not enough freight to support the amount of truck capacity in the market.

Accusations of wrongdoing receded as freight rates and demand for capacity surged over the past two years, but that could change as capacity loosens and spot rates continue to trend down.

“As conditions in the trucking industry change, and more carriers face challenges, we can assure you that FMCSA and others in the federal government will continue to hear about the lack of broker transparency from small-business truckers,” Spencer stated in his letter to FMCSA.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher.

38 Comments

  1. Steve

    There is minimum wage for employees
    But it is up to the industry as to how much they pay employees

    How about minimum per mile for truckload rates
    Minimum per mile

    Sure would like to be able to afford these upcoming electric trucks

    The industry does not need subsidies and grant funding
    We need an every day fare freight rate

  2. RoadRunner

    I got into trucking so I didn’t have to scam people in theses streets! Now I’m thinking of getting a broker’s license so I can scan legally! Broker tried to tell me a full load from Colorado to Illinois was only gonna pay $200! Boy Bye! Best practice is to stick with your cost per mile forecast and know the market trends in those particular lanes. When these brokers end up not being able to move the freight and loose shipper relationships they’ll straighten up and move right!

  3. Kevin Herbert

    Just out of curiosity, do retailers, manufacturers and distributors let everyone see there costs and profit? Supporters of this nonsense need to realize that this is not the solution to there lack of running there operations. The issue is that the majority of shippers control the rates. From there a broker, which by the way has expenses to operate need to earn what they deserve. If you dont like the rate dont take it. Another solution would be If you dont like it get out there and earn the business from direct customers.Stop being cry babies and either drive your truck or find another trade you can make more money.

  4. Pamale Bacon

    v if you think someone you know is being scammed or targeted by cheaters , do not make them feel embarrassed anyone can be a victim, few months ago I and my wife were scammed about $60,000, almost gave up in life, we were hopeless until a Brother introduced me to April Hoskey a reliable source to recover my funds back and also trade to earn high profit, Do contact this company via, hoskey 44april @gmail dot com

  5. A

    George W McDaniel

    Because like trucking, brokers are in a competitive field competing against each other. This whole comment section has basically confirmed truckers are conspiracy theorists that just want government intervention because they aren’t capable of running their business. Even if this goes through, it won’t turn out the way you think it does.

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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.