There have been several articles, both pro and con, concerning how the internet load boards are helping to reshape the transportation
industry. One statement that stands out in this discussion is that some of these websites are more than just marketplaces to customers,
they are sites helping re-shape the transportation industry and give truckers the tools they need to be successful. We are not convinced
that what some of these websites are doing is healthy for the industry or safe for the general public.
Some of the websites do not consider themselves a broker, have no broker authority, nor any brokerage responsibilities to the public.
According to Code of Federal Regulations, the definition of a broker is “Broker means a person who, for compensation, arranges, or offers
to arrange, the transportation of property by an authorized motor carrier”. Brokerage business appears to be a difficult industry to control,
and it will get more difficult as legal brokers and additional Internet Providers start using the same legal loophole to conduct business. Do
we really want to re-shape the transportation industry in this manner?
An additional way some of the internet load boards might be helping to re-shape the transportation industry is through their absence of
control over illegal transporters utilizing their site. Through their policies and practices, some make use of illegal transporters a secondary
issue, if an issue at all, in helping shippers choose transporters for their goods. A lot of legal transporters are trying to inform the public of
this problem and post on several venues that the shipper should verify the operating authority and insurance of the transporter and
explaining how to use FMCSA websites. The public doesn't know these things, and some websites, though their lack of control in this
area actually appear to be encouraging illegal transporters to utilize their website. If nothing else, the operator of these websites should
be morally responsible to assist the shipper in this area and to make it difficult for illegal truckers to proliferate thei rsite.
Also due to lack of information required by the websites to be published concerning their transporters, and difficulty of obtaining correct
information on some of them, it is difficult to determine if a Transporter is a legal, licensed, and insured carrier. Checks on the names in
Safer and SafeStat frequently produce no results that could verify that they have proper operating authority and insurance. Most legal
transporters display their Name, DOT#, MC#, and more, not only on the trucks but on letters, memos, and other correspondence.
Possibly, one of the results of re-shaping the transportation industry is; Hiding or replacing legal operating credentials and proper
insurance with comments like great service, good communication and being great people to work with.
This should not be an economic issue, but an issue of public safety, public education, and protection of the public from unscrupulous
operators. However there are economic issues created by this situation.
Addressing the economics, it costs several thousand dollars per year, per truck, in licenses, permits, fees, and insurance to operate
legally. Operating legally is hard work and to operate legally is getting more difficult and more expensive every year. It appears it may
be getting easier each year to operate illegally, and it certainly is cheaper. Legal trucking firms are asking for a level playing field.
In trying to fight the problem of illegal truckers already on the highways, legal trucking companies are finding problems in the safety
reporting systems that prevents or makes reporting potential illegal shipments difficult. Most enforcement units concentrate primarily
on the registered transporters, those with identifying logos on their truck, and those that stop at the scale stations. Enforcement of and
knowledge about the illegal, unmarked pickup trucks and vans on the highways, appears to be very low. The system for reporting
authority violations, both on the State and Federal level, is either non-existent or difficult to utilize effectively. It would be beneficial if
the systems were set up to enable legal trucking entities to assist in improving this potentially bad situation. There are thousands of legal
truckers that want the opportunity and capability of assisting in getting the illegal trucks off the highway.
Our concern is that some of the load boards are helping re-shape the transportation industry and we are not convinced what they are
doing is healthy for the industry or safe for the general public. As more and more truckers go for the easy, cheap way, the Public, State
and Federal Transportation Agencies, and legal Trucking Companies will bear the full economic and safety burden for the illegal trucks.
DISCUSSION TOPIC- RE-SHAPING THE TRANSPORTATION INDUSTRY
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