Rate cuts due to the COVID-19 pandemic have brought the often-turbulent relationship between freight brokers and truckers into the public eye recently. The federal government has said that it is looking in to allegations of misconduct by freight brokers, but says that there haven’t been many.
Some truck drivers accuse freight brokers of taking fairly-priced loads and posting them on load boards for starvation rates. In a highly unusual move, the president and CEO of the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) responded to criticism by posting a video on YouTube. In it, he called critics “snake oil salesmen” and said that truckers – not brokers – are responsible for low-paying freight. He then resigned a few weeks later saying that he had accomplished everything he had been hired to accomplish.
Acting Administrator for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Jim Mullen, spoke briefly about the agency’s plans regarding investigations in freight brokers. At the Truckload Carriers Association Virtual Safety And Security meeting on Tuesday, Mullen told virtual attendees that the FMCSA is moving forward with investigating allegations of misconduct. However, according to Overdrive, Mullen said that FMCSA has received “maybe five to ten allegations.”
The investigations are limited to only the alleged misconduct that FMCSA considers to be within its scope. If a broker is trying to avoid abiding by existing federal regulations, FMCSA will investigate. But they aren’t planning on addressing misconduct that isn’t already addressed by existing law.