Last year Thomasholmes covered the capacity crunch in great detail, culminating in a helpful and educational e-book titled “The Great Capacity Crunch: The Current State, Future Outlook, and How Shippers Can Thrive in Any Capacity Crunch.”

As an update, in this post, we’ll address a more updated way that shippers can navigate the 2018 Capacity Crunch many shippers are currently facing.

The combination between the capacity crunch, the ELD mandate, rising rates, and last year’s hurricanes has been called the perfect storm of the transportation industry. And given its intensification, it may well leave those shippers who aren’t prepared for it stranded.

So, as a shipper, what are your options? Greater versatility, closer partnership with freight brokers, and new technologies are some of the many steps you can take to secure the capacity you need. Read on for an overview of the ways you can tackle the 2018 capacity crunch, and why working with a broker may be essential in the process.

Navigating the 2018 Capacity Crunch

The way it looks, the 2018 capacity crunch is not going away anytime soon. April presents yet another hurdle for shippers, as and the ELD mandate is fully enforced. While the effects of the latter cannot be anticipated entirely, a number of small carriers are said to have already pulled out of the market. In other words, a further crunch increase may be expected, as if it wasn’t already record-high. Moreover, apart from raising rates, carriers are also becoming more selective with regards to who they do business with.

That means that shippers need to find solutions that help them navigate the 2018 capacity crunch effectively. Among others, these solutions can include the following:

The Top Logistics Trends that Will Impact Logistics Management in 2018

Download Here

Shift to Other Modes of Transportation

Picking a different form of transportation such as rail, air or intermodal can reduce supply chain delays due to capacity limits. According to Averitt’s , over 20% of shippers plan on using more rail and air transport this year. Moreover, intermodal has been found to sometimes even reduce transportation times and cost when compared to road transport.

While careful planning is key to successful implementation, this is increasingly becoming a more viable option to shippers who are struggling with capacity. Making use of various modes of transport is also constantly being improved by the implementation of new technologies.

Make Use of New Technologies

The capacity crunch is fueling innovation and giving rise to a series of new that hope to tackle the problem. From freight matching and dynamic load matching platforms to transportation management systems like the Thomasholmes Rater, a host of solutions are already available on the market.

Some of these are only intended for brokers or carriers. Yet, others, such as matching software, allow shippers and carriers to connect more efficiently as well as to collaborate with brokers or 3PLs, and solve capacity issues together.

Choose a Good Brokerage

Not all shippers work with a brokerage, especially if they have long worked directly with carriers. Yet, at this time this may need to change. Working with a broker can significantly improve your ability to have your goods delivered on time.

When choosing a broker, the first and most important thing you need to pay attention to is that they are licensed and . This may sound like common-sense advice but it is the foundation of any business you do with a broker. A license from the FMCSA guarantees that the broker you will be working with is qualified to work as a broker. The bond, on the other hand, serves as financial security that will shield you, the shipper, in cases of a broker non-compliance with the law.

Brokers can be your strategic partner in times like these and can easily secure better rates than you. This is due to their greater buying power when it comes to negotiating with carriers but also due to their bigger network. Brokers can also supply shippers with a larger carrier pool and they can easily shift modes of transportation. So, when picking a broker, it is important that you assess their capacity to offer you rates that are better than the ones you already have. It is also important to get a sense of their carrier network and how quickly they are capable of reacting when you need them to.

Working with a broker can help mitigate your own supply chain delays by reducing carriers’ deadhead. For example, good brokers can ensure that different shippers co-load with each other and fill carriers’ trailers both ways. To achieve this, they also make use of TMS systems. When speaking to a broker, inquire about the systems they use and how they work with their carriers to decrease capacity pressures.

Apart from carefully vetting the brokers you work with, you can improve your own chances of securing capacity by becoming a broker’s ““. This will require you to amp up your own game by making sure you pay on time, offer greater delivery flexibility, implement a drop and hook program and various other improvements that make it preferable for carriers to work with you.

How Are You Braving the 2018 Capacity Crunch Storm?

How are you dealing with capacity issues? Do you work with a broker? What else would you say is important when a shipper contracts a broker?

Leave us a comment!

On April 6, the new rules for the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Foods will come into effect for small businesses. As the date approaches, it can be useful to review what shippers, carriers and brokers will need to comply with when handling food.

Read on for an overview of the main requirements!

The Sanitary Transportation Rule

The which is part of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was finalized in April 2016. For larger businesses the rule came into effect on April 6, 2017, whereas small businesses were given a longer time to prepare and will have to begin complying with its provisions on April 6, 2018.

Within the rule, small businesses are defined as those businesses other than motor carriers who are also not shippers or receivers employing less than 500 employees. Carriers with less than $27.5 million in annual receipts are also considered small businesses.

The purpose of the rule is to provide new guidelines and rules which are meant to prevent food safety risks that arise during transportation. Such risks arise when food is not refrigerated well, vehicles used for food transport are not cleaned properly or, for example, when food in open containers is not protected adequately.

Who Must Comply?

Though there are some exemptions, the rule applies to all “shippers, receivers, loaders, and carriers who transport food in the United States”, regardless if the food enters interstate commerce or not. It also applies to everyone who ships food into the U.S. if that food is to be sold or consumed in the U.S.

It is important to note that the rule specifically states that freight brokers are also among those who need to comply with the rule, and that within the rule they are considered the same as shippers. This is important because it places responsibilities on brokers which they have typically not had to assume.

Now, like shippers, brokers may need to consider carefully defining the responsibilities they have towards their partners in the form of written agreements. In fact, given the strict compliance rules for freight brokers, due to the they must enter into when getting licensed, the requirements of Sanitary Transportation Rule should not be ignored.

So what must the different parties comply with?

Compliance Requirements

The compliance requirements under the rule vary depending on the party involved in the transportation process. There are four general categories of provisions that must be covered by the different parties. These are:

Within these categories, shippers, loaders, receivers, brokers and carriers must comply with a host of different obligations. So, for example, carriers need to ensure that the vehicles and equipment they use are up to the standards of the rule. At the same time, shippers (and freight brokers) must establish and implement procedures to check that this is the case. In cases in which a shipper is also a carrier, both responsibilities lie with that company.

In November 2017, the FDA issued a helpful and detailed which specifies all obligations within the above four categories clearly. If you are still working on implementing the requirement under the rule, this guide will help you in doing so. For carriers in particular, the FDA has also offered a which will help them understand and introduce all of the necessary changes.

Are you prepared?

While not much time is left before the implementation, small businesses transporting food still have time to finalize their compliance procedures. Are you prepared for the rule? What were the biggest hurdles you faced in preparing for the new requirements? Let us know in the comments!

As October 1 approaches, some freight forwarders may need to renew their freight forwarder bond. While that is not the renewal deadline for all forwarders, many of them renew around that date as the requirement to get bonded was introduced back in October 2013, and applied to those who were in business then.

With the deadline approaching, freight forwarders may be asking themselves what they can do to reduce the rate at which they obtain their ? Bond rates can vary from year to year and depend, to a large extent, on the actions of bond applicants. 

Here is an overview of the bonding requirement followed by some tips on how you can lower the cost of getting bonded. 

Why Freight Forwarders Require a Surety Bond 

Surety bonds are a means to guarantee that a bonded person or business will comply with the laws and regulations that govern their industry. In the case of freight forwarders, a surety bond ensures that they will comply with all the contractual obligations they have towards the carriers and shippers they work with. This includes how freight is handled, how and when it arrives at its destination, etc. 

In cases when a freight forwarder violates these conditions due to malpractice, negligence, dishonesty, fraud or otherwise, a claim can be filed against their bond. When a claim is filed, compensation can be requested by the party that has endured losses or damages as a result. 

Such compensation is extended by the surety company which backs the bond but must ultimately be borne by the bonded freight forwarder. When compensation is extended by the surety, the freight forwarder must repay the surety in full. 

How Freight Forwarders Can Reduce the Cost of Their Bond 

The cost of all surety bonds is determined on the basis an applicant’s credit score. After looking at the credit score, sureties also consider other aspects, such as financial statements, liquidity, and assets as well as personal factors such as industry experience and record. 

To improve your freight forwarder bond rate, you must improve any number of these factors with credit score being the most important. This year, many brokers and forwarders may find their rate improving automatically. , credit scores will not be influenced by tax liens and civil debts. This, in turn, means that many scores will improve themselves. 

One thing you can do immediately is to request your free annual credit report to check if such items have been removed from it. This will ensure that you get the best rate possible based on your current credit score. Beyond that, here are some tips how you can further improve your bond rate. 

1. Raise Your Credit Score 

Improving your credit score is the number one thing you can do to improve your bond rate. Improving your credit score happens by eliminating negative items in your credit report that drag down your score. With tax liens and civil debts out of the picture, you need to look at  negatively. These can be: 

2. Improve the Rest of Your Financials and Showcase Your Experience 

Eliminating certain items in your credit history may take a while. Even if your credit score is slow to pick up, you can still work on improving your other financials, as well as showcasing your professional experience to your surety. 

Strong financial and business statements are another important factor that influences bond rates. Have a certified CPA help you with preparing your financial statements to meet the requirements of your surety company. 

Along with your financial statements, have the CPA also help you prepare a schedule of managing general and administrative expenses. This provides the surety with a sense of how you manage your finances, which is an important piece of information when a bond is issued. Moreover, showcasing any liquid assets you have and providing cash verification can also tilt the scales in your favor. 

If you’re not new to the industry, you can also make use of your professional record to influence the surety’s decision. The longer your history and the better your record, the more a surety will deem you ‘safe’ to be bonded, and your rate is likely to drop. If you have something to show, don’t hesitate to let the surety know! 

3. Carefully Pick Your Surety Agency 

If you’re new to the industry and this is your first time getting bonded, you need to know that rates on surety bonds may vary from one surety agency to the next. 

Surety agencies work with surety companies to offer bonds to the public. Different agencies have access to different ‘markets’ and thus can offer varying rates to their clients. Generally, the more companies an agency can contact for a quote, the higher the chance for you to get the lowest possible rate. 

Agencies also vary in the type of companies they work with. When picking your agency, look for one that works with A-rated and T-listed sureties. These companies are the most reliable ones, having been approved by the Department of Treasury and A-rated by the A.M. Best insurance rating company. 

How Did You Improve Your Rate? 

Have you improved your freight forwarder bond rate before and have some useful advice to share? Leave a comment below that can be useful to other freight brokers looking to improve their bond rate! 

Last month, President Trump’s office released his much-anticipated Buy American, Hire American executive order. The new order is meant to protect American jobs, by encouraging companies to buy and sell American-made products, and by reviewing the country’s H1-B visa program for highly-skilled workers.

The president campaigned heavily on a promise to revive American industries, and create American jobs. This new executive order will kick-start that process, according to the White House. So what’s included in the Buy American executive order, and what effects could it have on American transportation?

American Workers, American Goods

includes two main objectives: to stimulate USA manufacturing by tightening requirements that industries use American-made goods, and to review the USA’s visa policy for skilled immigrant workers. Its language is broad, and how it will be enacted and enforced remains to be seen. However, American industry across the board will likely see more scrutiny in the coming months, especially regarding where they buy their goods, and who they hire.

For the transportation industry, there may be a crackdown on vouchers for foreign-made goods, which transportation projects use to buy imported goods when they can’t find what they need made in the USA. Initially, this could drive the cost of projects up. However, it depends on how seriously the executive branch decides to enforce the order, whether they have the support of Congress, and what they find out during their assessments of the transportation industry in the coming months.

Steelworkers are particularly interested in Trump’s Buy American order, because he’s promised to use it to bolster US-made steel. Trump signed the executive order just a day before an important directive about foreign-made steel, which . This directive calls for a probe into whether foreign steel is a threat to national security. It’s expected that the Trump administration will use both initiatives to crack down on transportation, and other infrastructure-related, projects that use foreign steel.

Transportation May See Labor Shortages due to Buy American, Hire American Executive Order

However, where this could have the most far-reaching implications for transportation is in the hiring process. The Buy American order promises to review the country’s , which is specifically used for hiring highly-skilled workers. This type of visa is intended for workers with extraordinary talent and training, when companies can’t find an American worker with the necessary skills.

The H1-B visa has been steadily growing in popularity for several years, as foreign workers have rigorously trained and built their skill sets to meet America’s demand. This new executive order calls for a probe of this program, to determine whether abuses are happening, and whether H1-B visas are doing their job of bringing in foreign workers only when an American with the right skills isn’t available. For transportation, a crackdown on H1-B visas could mean a shortage of engineers, computer scientists, and other highly-skilled professionals to plan new projects.

A shortage in this area could actually hurt transportation, causing new projects to stall and prices to go up. The Trump administration, however, claims this review– and possible tweaks in the program– will keep wages up and create more opportunities for American workers.

Transportation Training for Americans

The question is whether American workers will have the skills and education to perform these jobs that are currently going to foreign workers on H1-B visas. Currently, it . If the transportation industry wants to grow and thrive under the “Buy American, Hire American” directive, industry leaders would do well to increase their focus on training here in the USA.

Lots of questions about the new directive will be answered in the coming months. Initially, the transportation industry should prepare for more scrutiny, by making sure that they are following all the rules when it comes to hiring and buying goods. Everyone involved in the transportation industry should also take extra care to comply with all their insurance, licensure, and .

Lastly, to keep transportation growing and thriving under the new administration, the country will need a fresh look at domestic training programs. The economy has suffered from labor shortages for years, and the USA will continue to rely on foreign workers unless government officials and business leaders cooperate, to create more training opportunities for American workers.

What is your take on Trump’s Buy American executive order and its implications for the transportation industry? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Logistics professionals need to consider a myriad of factors in their daily operations. Making the right choice for a freight brokering partner is often one of the important tasks on their to-do list. Whether you’re a shipper or a carrier, working with a bonded freight broker is essential for your workflow. Brokers function like the middlemen who ensure a smooth transportation process and top service prices for all parties involved.

in the logistics industry, you need to carefully consider who will be your most appropriate partner. Working with a licensed and bonded freight broker provides you with the needed security in this process. That’s why it’s highly recommended that you check the credentials of your broker before you start your collaboration.

Here are the top reasons why partnering with a licensed and bonded freight broker is the wisest choice for your logistics company.

The FMCSA license ensures brokers’ legitimacy

All freight brokers in the U.S. need to undergo a rigorous (FMCSA). They have to apply via the Unified Registration System (URS) to obtain their operating authority. This is the only way that brokers can operate legally in the country.

The licensing involves meeting a number of requirements set by the FMCSA. They include registering a company, setting up an office- or home-based office, and appointing a process agent for each state in which they operate. Brokers also need to comply with the strict bonding and insurance criteria.

Since the requirements are considerable, the licensing truly ensures that licensed brokers are trustworthy. Their professional and financial stability is checked by the FMCSA to guarantee they are safe to do business with. You can check online if the broker you are about to choose is . 

The freight broker bond provides protection

One of the reasons why the licensing ensures that you can safely work with a freight broker is the bonding requirement. Brokers have to post a $75,000 bond to obtain their operating authority. The bond’s penal sum was increased from $10,000 to this new amount in 2013.

for brokers’ working partners and clients. It is designed to safeguard your interests against misuse and fraud on the side of brokers. If you suffer any damages because of brokers’ unlawful actions, you can demand a compensation by filing a claim on the broker bond. Affected parties can get a reimbursement up to the penal sum of the bond, which is considerable. This ensures that shippers and carriers will not be unfairly treated by the brokering partners.

The bonding process itself involves detailed checks of brokers’ personal and company finances. This is another round of security approval, which guarantees that only stable businesses enter the industry. Before you start working with a broker, check the validity of their surety bond on the FMCSA’s website. 

Bonded Freight Brokers Provide Additional Security Factors You Can Consider

The active license and freight broker bond are the minimum requirements you should check when selecting your brokering partner. You can also look at other factors to further see the suitability of the broker.

You can inquire . Typically, brokers have to get loss and damage insurance (BMC-34) and in some cases, BMC-91 or BMC-91X insurance for bodily injury, property damage and environmental restoration. You can decide whether you want to collaborate with a broker depending on their insurance situation.

It’s also advisable to and what their score is. See also if they have a . These are additional factors that ensure the legitimacy and trustworthiness of your brokering partner and it might be wise to check all of them.

What is your experience in working with a licensed and bonded freight broker? Please share your comments in the section below.

Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog from our friends at Bryant Surety Bonds where they discuss the current, potentially fragile state of the freight broker industry.

Yes, you read that correctly. According to data provided by My Carrier Resources, more brokers leave the industry between September and November than during other months of the year. But what does that mean and why could brokers be quitting in larger numbers during those months?

We want to find out! But let’s first look at the numbers.

Is the Freight Broker Industry in Decline?

Does the fact that more freight brokers leave during these three months signal that the freight broker industry is declining? This is what you might think at first. So let’s begin by clearing the air with what we already know from the data provided.

No, not only is the industry not declining, it is growing on a yearly basis, as you can see from data presented in the graph below.

freight brokerThe total number of licensed freight brokers between January 2014 and September 2016 has risen from 13,565 to 16,932. That’s a total increase of 3,367 active brokers. However, according to the FMCSA register, there are more than 7000 newly registered freight brokers during the same period. The difference between the number of newly registered brokers and the increase in the number of active freight brokers comes from the number of brokers who went out of business during that period.

The data shows that in the last two years, during the months of September, October and November there is a sharper rise in the number of freight brokers that leave the industry than during the remaining months of the year.

Since the rise of freight brokers who decide to leave the industry during those months is so pronounced, we are expecting to witness something similar during this time of the year as well. A more tangible uptick is already visible in the numbers for August and September.

But the question remains – what could the reason for that be? Why are more freight brokers leaving now than during other months?

Regular Turnover or Something Else?

There are a few possibilities. Of course, one possible and straightforward explanation is that those are just the numbers of regular turnover within the freight broker industry.

The majority of brokers have licenses which expire during these three months because of the changes that took place in October 2013. So if any of the brokers registered prior to 2013 is leaving the industry, the change will be reflected in these months.

At the same time, given that the FMCSA bond increase in 2013 caused a lot of controversy because of the higher bonding costs, some might look for the reason there. A small number of brokers was indeed put out of business back then because of the tighter regulations, but this served to improve the overall reputation of the industry. Since then the number of brokers has been steadily growing.

Which takes us to yet another option is the increased competition caused by the influx of new brokers. A likely source of competition is also the new digital solutions aiming to establish a direct relationship between shippers and carriers

Some of these scenarios sound plausible, but how can we find out the real reason?

Poll: What Do You Think?

While a number of licensed freight brokers is on the increase and figures of quitting brokers are not drastic or dramatic, we are still surprised and even slightly concerned by this trend. 

To get a fuller picture, we have created an which current or former freight brokers can answer, in order to help us understand the situation better.

We would be happy to hear your take on this issue. Please follow the link to the poll provided above and let us know what you think is the reason for the yearly decrease in freight broker numbers during the period between September and November.

Feel free to also leave a comment below and start a discussion!


As most professionals in the freight business are already aware, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has been implementing a (URS) since 2015. It was bound to enact the second phase of the new system this September, but the deadline has been postponed.

The idea behind the URS is to unify all data about the entities whose activities are regulated by the FMCSA. In this way, the registration process for businesses would get easier and smoother.

The first stage of rolling out the URS was already executed in December 2015. Since then, all new registrations are conducted via the new system. The second phase was supposed to be launched in September 2016, but instead will start in 2017.

Let’s look at the details behind the URS and why the change of deadlines is taking place.

What the Unified Registration System is all about

The purpose of the Unified Registration System is to replace the requirement for obtaining an MC, FF and USDOT number with a single registration system for all types of licenses issued by the FMCSA.

The move towards the new system came largely as an answer to the dissatisfaction of businesses who found the old process unnecessarily burdensome. Applications will no longer be accepted in paper form, as the whole application process will be moved online. By having a single place with all relevant data, the FMCSA will have a better overview and control over licensees. The old system was in place for 18 years.

More than 20 different registration system will be combined in the new URS. To make the transition process smoother, the FMCSA has decided to split it into three phases – for new applicants, for current licensees and for private and exempt carriers.

. As of December 12, all new applicants have applied for a URS number instead of the old options for registration.

In the next 10 years, the new system is expected to bring savings of more than $9 million for the freight industry.

The new deadline for Unified Registration System’s second phase

As for existing licensees already in business, the second phase of the URS was supposed to be rolled out on September 30, 2016.

However, since the change that the FMCSA needs to enact is significant and the information that needs to be processed is enormous, . The date for the second phase has already been postponed a few times because of these reasons. 

This means that freight brokers, carriers and forwarders who are currently in operation have a few more months to prepare for the change. According to the FMCSA, only 16% of applications are submitted on paper. For freight professionals who are among these applicants, this gives enough time to adapt to the new rules and potentially look for a third party processing agent to assist you in the process.

The third phase will be rolled out as of April 14, 2017, which affects private and exempt carriers. 

What the URS means for freight businesses

The URS is designed to make easier and lighter for freight businesses. It will decrease the volume of paperwork that licensees need to take care of, which means less administrative burden. Processing errors should also be reduced as a result of the new system.

It is not yet clear whether there will be other changes for current freight brokers, carriers and forwarders. The licensing fee of $300 might be increased, as has been suggested by the FMCSA. However, the is likely to remain at $75,000, as it was increased from $10,000 back in 2013.

What are your thoughts on FMCSA’s new Unified Registration System? If you are already using it, what are your impressions? Please share your insights in the comments below.

Todd Bryant is the president and founder of . He is a surety bonds expert with years of experience in helping freight brokers get bonded and start their business.

Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog from . Thomasholmes is not a freight forwarder, but technically a freight broker/transportation intermediary who specializes in North American Transportation Mangement primarily for less than truckload shipping, truckload, and small package. Thomasholmes does work with many freight forwarders who import into the US and need trucks to move from the port inland. We hope this post is helpful for those looking to become a freight forwarder but also for shippers wanting to know how it works. 

Thinking about entering the freight movers field? Becoming a freight forwarder is a great option to join this business.

While the process of starting your career as a freight forwarder takes some time and effort, it is definitely worthwhile, as the field offers plenty of opportunities for development. But before we get into the nitty-gritty details of how to become a freight forwarder, let’s take a look at what a freight forwarder actually does.

Often, a freight forwarder is thought to be similar to a broker. However, a in the freight-moving business than the freight broker does. A broker acts as an intermediary between sellers and buyers. In this case, the buyer of services is the shipper of goods, and the seller is the service provider, or carrier, such as a trucking company.

A , works on behalf of importers and exporters, or the people securing the freight. He or she is an expert on every aspect of freight costs, including transportation, port charges, insurance, handling, documentation and any other legal fees. He or she also advises on the best method for cargo moving, and reserves the space on the chosen mode of transportation. In this sense, a forwarder also acts as a broker, but must have skills and capital beyond what is usually required of brokers.

how to become a freight forwarder conway

In the case of international shipping, the freight forwarder is in charge of export documentation, and communication with international customs brokers, in order to determine compliance with all regulations.

So, how does the registration process work? Let’s get you started on how to become a freight forwarder.

How to get started

To start your legal operations as a freight forwarder, you have to register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. You can consult the initial steps of the here.

The registration with FMCSA actually entails obtaining an interstate operating authority, which is designated as an FF number in the case of forwarders. The applicable form is .

The best approach is to , which will make the process much faster and easier . The fee for the operating authority application is $300.

Freight forwarders don’t need to obtain a USDOT number like most other freight professionals, but if you’re planning to operate as an interstate motor carrier, you will need to get one.

After application approval

When you get the approval on your application – called the grant letter – you will be provided with your FF number. You need this number to complete the next steps of getting your operating authority, especially for the insurance and surety bond, which are required. Even though you’ve gotten the number already, you may not start operations. You’ll have to wait until you receive the official registration.

Once your FF number is issued, it’s published in the FMCSA Register, and any individual can file a protest against your registration within 10 days. Once this period has passed, your registration can be issued.

In the meantime, you need to start the insurance process with your insurance company. You are required to maintain the following minimum levels of cargo insurance:

The insurance provider has to file Form BMC-34 on your behalf within 90 days of the time when your application was entered in the FMCSA Register.

You also need to get bodily injury and property damage insurance, plus environmental restoration coverage, in case you will operate commercial motor vehicles (CMV). Your insurance company needs to file form BMC-91 or BMC-91X on your behalf. If you don’t need that coverage, you have to select the waiver for it in the application form.

Another step you need to take care of once you have your FF number is to designate a Process Agent for each state you operate in. You can do so by filing , best done online.

Getting your freight broker bond

One of the requirements for getting your FF number from the FMCSA is obtaining a surety bond (Form BMC-84) in the amount of $75,000. The bond is often , but it is also applicable for forwarders.

The bond, in essence, is a three-party contract between your freight forwarding company as the principal, the FMCSA as the obligee, and the surety provides the bonding. It acts as a guarantee to the authority that requires it that you will comply with all applicable regulations in your operations.

Don’t be alarmed by the bond amount. The actual cost of your freight broker bond is only a percentage of $75,000, which is called the bonding premium. It’s usually in the range of 1%-12%, depending on your credit score and other factors. You can read this to understand how the bond cost is calculated.

Already in the business? We would happy to hear your tips on becoming a freight forwarder. Plus, if you have any questions about the licensing and bonding process, feel free to comment below!

Are you up-to-date with the latest events in freight shipping and logistics? As you know, the atmosphere for freight brokers is only getting more competitive. If you want to stay ahead of the competition, it’s not just a question of reading industry newsletters. Staying current in the world of shipping and freight also takes strong . Conferences and expos are a chance for you to hear from the industry’s top players, and most importantly, build relationships with other freight shipping professionals.

7 of the Best Freight Shipping Events to Attend in 2015

Check out some of the country’s top freight shipping conferences and events for the rest of 2015:

Can innovative technology, new business models and eCommerce re-boot the business of logistics?

Chicago, IL June 16 -18

The 3PL Summit is North America’s largest and most high-level gathering of logistics executives and their manufacturer and retailer supply chain counterparts. With over 600 attendees, it brings together the leading thinkers and practitioners in logistics and supply chain to network, learn, debate challenges, discuss trends and share ideas.


Shaumberg, Illinois; July 13-15

Fleet Safety Conference Logo_10-12_redBrokers, shippers, and carriers alike should always be concerned about safety. In 2015, safe practices are taking center stage as Congress considers the FMCSA’s recent strategy proposal for improving road safety. Tougher regulations, and higher insurance minimums, may be on the horizon. This is a great event for anyone in the freight shipping industry who wants to stay ahead of these challenges.

The Fleet Safety Conference will have something for everyone, no matter how large or small their business. This year’s keynote speaker will be Mike Watson, global road safety manager for Shell. The conference will focus on strategies for creating a strong safety culture within the industry, and using new data capabilities to improve safety.

Indianapolis, Indiana; September 15-17

freight shipping FTR Transportation

Early bird registration is already open for 2015’s FTR Transportation Conference, which dubs itself “The Premier Forecasting Event of the Year.” At this conference, FTR promises to bring the same forward-thinking, data-driven approach that it does to and market analysis services.

The conference will feature so much information, including seminars, workshops, and speeches, that you might wish you could attend them all. Depending on your area of interest, the event will be divided into four content channels, to help you choose where to focus. The FTR Transportation Conference is a can’t-miss for anyone who’s wondering how to bring their fleet, or freight brokerage, forward into the future.

Dallas, Texas; September 29-October 1

freight shipping american supply chain and logistis summit

The Annual American Supply Chain and Logistics Summit describes itself as the country’s largest such event, attracting supply chain experts from companies including General Motors, Walmart, and Lenovo, as well as industry leaders from organizations like the National Retail Federation. This is a chance to learn about what freight shipping’s biggest players are doing to shake up the industry.

This year’s Summit promises to include an impressive line-up of speakers, exclusive workshops and excellent networking opportunities, plus an award for “Supply Chain Innovator of the Year.”

Toronto, Ontario, Canada; October 14

freight shipping surface transportation summit

This fall, you may want to head north for the annual Surface Transportation Summit, to be held just outside of Toronto. Although the details are yet to be announced, keep an eye on this event, as the agenda promises an added focus on networking opportunities for freight shipping professionals in North America.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; October 17-20

freight shipping ATA conferenceThe American Trucking Association is the industry’s leading trade organization, and their Annual Management Conference and Exhibition bills itself as “trucking’s most prestigious show of the year.” Last year’s ATA Management Conference offered a focus on the energy market, and how shippers, brokers, and carriers could maximize profits ahead of changing efficiency standards. Although the 2015 event schedule is still in planning, this year’s conference will no doubt offer the inside perspective, and vast professional network, that the ATA is known for.

Arguably the highlight of the conference is the expo, which offers unparalleled networking opportunities for brokers, shippers and carriers, and a peek at the latest shipping innovations.

Chicago, Illinois; October 27-29

freight shipping integer summit

The end of October might seem far away, but early bird registration is already open for the Integer Emissions Summit & DEF Forum. Like last year, the event promises to offer exclusive predictions and insights for the world of shipping, focusing on emissions control, policy changes, and new technology.

In particular, this tech-centered summit also features the Diesel Exhaust Fluid Forum, which is the premier event for anyone who relies on diesel fuel in their business. This conference will help you stay one step ahead of the technology, and policies, that will shape your business in the future.

Looking forward to any of these upcoming events in the world of shipping and freight? Are there any great events out there that you think should be on this list? Let us know in the comments below!

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