Freight forwarders ordered to issue receipts

More than a dozen years after it proposed to do so, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a final rule requiring all surface freight forwarders to issue a receipt or bill of lading on each shipment for which they arrange transportation of freight by a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce. The rule takes effect in 30 days, on May 6.

This final rule harmonizes the regulations governing freight forwarders’ bills of lading with the requirements of the ICC Termination Act of 1995 by revising those rules to include the general commodities segment of the freight forwarding industry within its scope. Until now, regulations concerning receipts or bills of lading apply only to household goods freight forwarders.

The latest action follows a provision in the 2005 highway act authorizing FMCSA to continue registering general commodities freight forwarders if it finds registration necessary to protect shippers. The agency made such a finding in August 2006. The 2005 law also directed FMCSA to eliminate the distinction between motor common or contract carriers in registration. The new rule makes a technical correction to the existing rule to eliminate the word “common” from within its scope.

For a copy of the new rule, click here and search FMCSA-1997-2290.