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FMCSA commenters debate whether load boards should register as brokers

From FreightWaves.

Should electronic bulletin boards — known in trucking as load boards — be considered brokers and therefore required to register as such with federal regulators?

The question was posed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in soliciting comments for future guidance on how freight brokers, bona fide agents and truck dispatchers should operate.

Most responding to that question in the petition, which received over 70 comments of which many were duplicate form-letter responses, believed electronic load boards, which match shippers and carriers and charge a membership access fee, should not be considered brokers.

“These load boards essentially serve as an ‘information marketplace’ for entities in the transportation industry,” said Chris Burroughs, VP of government affairs for the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA), a major broker group. “TIA firmly maintains that load boards should not be considered to be brokers, as they are technology companies providing data and serving all entities in the marketplace.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) agreed that electronic load boards should not be considered brokers “as long as they are only displaying information and not processing money between shippers and motor carriers,” said OOIDA President and CEO Todd Spencer.

DAT Solutions, a major load board operator, asserted that being regulated like a broker “will not further the mission of protecting carriers from fraudsters who arrange for shipment and then refuse to pay. FMCSA’s guidance should explicitly reinforce that electronic load boards do not provide regulated brokerage and thus are not brokers.”

See the complete article online at FreightWaves.