Motor Carrier Bill Reintroduction May Pose Challenge to Members, NCBFAA Tells Congress

Jon Kent

Phone: (202) 223-6222

For Immediate Release

Washington, DC: In letters to last year’s Motor Carrier Protection Act sponsor, Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and cosponsor, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America, Inc., (NCBFAA) President Jeffrey Coppersmith expressed concern that a new draft bill currently circulating would make our members “the target of legislation aimed at unregulated fly-by-night domestic property brokers.” Absent changes to narrow the bill’s scope, the NCBFAA will not support the legislation.
“The draft bill proposed by several transportation organizations contains a serious flaw which we want you to be aware of,” he wrote, it extends beyond the legislation's intended focus of attention (unregulated property brokers in domestic commerce) to include highly-regulated entities handling international movements of cargo.”
        President Coppersmith pointed out that NCBFAA members are already licensed, bonded and heavily regulated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC). Domestic cargo moves are incidental to their primary role of facilitating international commerce.
“The bill, as presently drafted, however would require our members to become registered, licensed, pay fees, purchase a substantial bond, maintain liability insurance, and be subject to civil penalties and private causes of action, by virtue of our responsibility to initiate or complete the international movement of cargo,” he noted. “If any merchandise under our management travels under a port-to-port bill of lading, for example, this additional regulation and expense would be triggered.”

        Although the NCBFAA supports the bill’s intent, it’s effect as currently drafted, would be to impose an unnecessary regulatory layer on an already heavily burdened international supply chain.
        “We hope you will consider making the refinements necessary to prevent our members from being swept up in a net designed for these domestic property brokers, who should be appropriately regulated by more specifically tailored legislation,” he concluded.
         Headquartered in Washington, DC, the NCBFAA represents nearly 800 member companies with 100,000 employees in international trade - the nation's leading freight forwarders, customs brokers, ocean transportation intermediaries (OTIs), NVOCCs and air cargo agents, serving more than 250,000 importers and exporters. Established in 1897 in New York, NCBFAA is the effective national voice of the industry. Through its various committees, counsel and representatives, the Association maintains a close watch over legislative and regulatory issues that affect its members. It keeps them informed of these and other related issues through its weekly Monday Morning eBriefing, and various meetings and conferences throughout the year.
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