One-stop federal registration for freight providers launched

One-stop federal registration for freight providers launched

The Unified Registration System, a new registration system for trucking companies, freight forwarders and some other types of transport operators, may not be entirely ready for prime time, but federal regulators are launching its “first phase.”

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration last week made a single online “smart form” available to register new truck and bus companies, freight forwarders, brokers, intermodal equipment providers and cargo tank manufacturing, inspection and repair facilities.

The new form is part of a “phased launch” of the Unified Registration System or URS that began Dec. 12 and will be completed in 2016. Only new companies will be allowed to use the form to register, the FMCSA said in a statement.

The Unified Registration System form combines multiple legacy reporting forms for different modes and types of transportation companies into one online form to streamline the registration and renewal process, a goal of the Department of Transportation since the mid-1990s.

The FMCSA issued a final rule establishing the URS in 2013, but later delayed implementation as it worked on the technology needed to implement the program.

The URS will replace the registration functions of multiple FMCSA legacy systems, including the Licensing and Insurance system and the Motor Carrier Management Information System. Starting Sept. 30, 2016 the USDOT number issued by the Department of Transportation will become the sole identifier, replacing motor carrier MC or freight forwarder FF numbers.

In addition to saving millions of dollars in paperwork and fees, the system will help the FMCSA weed out so-called “chameleon” truck and bus companies that try to evade out-of-service orders and penalties by re-registering as “new” companies under different names.

Contact William B. Cassidy at bill.cassidy@ihs.com and follow him on Twitter: @wbcassidy_joc