A freight broker acts as an agent between a company with goods to ship and a carrier to transport those goods by truck. Brokers are licensed and regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Freight brokers arrange transport only. They do not handle or take possession of any goods, nor are they responsible for loss or damage to the cargo.
Prospective freight brokers file Application for Operating Authority OP-1, along with a $300 application fee. After receiving an MC number, the applicant’s insurance company has 90 days to file Form BMC-84 for a surety bond or Form BMC-85 for a trust fund agreement. During that same time, the applicant must file Form BOC-3 to designate a Process Agent.
When the FMCSA issues a MC number, it also publishes the operating authority application in the FMCSA Register. Upon publication, there is a 10-day window for individuals to file protests before a license is granted.
In addition to FMCSA regulations, there are requirements freight brokers must follow in each state. It is the broker’s responsibility to contact state transportation agencies to ensure compliance with state laws.