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"No one is forcing carriers to sign these contracts or even to work with a broker."

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

According to a recent Freight Waves post, these are the words of Chris Burroughs, Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) Vice President of government affairs, in response to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) denial to remove a requirement for freight brokers to disclose carrier transaction records. This requirement is part of a larger effort by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) to encourage more regulatory oversight to protect carriers from unscrupulous brokers.

To the lay person, protection of owner-operator/independent carriers (OO/IC) may not appear important. One may wonder what's at risk. Well, a lot is at risk. Truck drivers move more than 70% of the nation's products. The industry relies upon OO/ICs, in particular, as a resource for moving the nation's freight as they are a solution to absorbing fluctuating demands. However, as a growing number of brokers drive down spot rates, squeeze carriers' profit margins, and resist transparency, OO/ICs are forced to leave the industry. If nothing is done about the 6% and growing reduction of the truck driver workforce, no matter how much product is imported, goods can't be delivered and prices and inflation will continue to rage unabatedly.

So, if Burroughs' position is the prevailing sentiment among brokers, why are carriers working with brokers? Is it time for carriers to find a new way of doing business?

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