Auto Shipping Glossary: Operating Authority
Every company that wants to haul goods, no matter what those goods might be, has to be licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, also known as the FMCSA. Okay, not all – there are some companies that don’t have to have licenses to haul their goods, namely those that operate in specific zones defined by the FMCSA or not-for-hire companies that haul their own freight (think automobile manufacturers who use their own trucks to get cars from manufacturing facilities to dealerships). These don’t matter to you – the companies that do matter are the ones that you’ll be dealing with when it comes time to ship your vehicle, namely the brokers and the carriers.
Each type of auto transport company is required to have operating authority, which is given to them via their MC Number. The MC Number is their Motor Carrier Number and is basically how the FMCSA regulates and keeps track of companies they give operating authority to. There are several different types of prefixes depending on what those companies transport; for this blog post we’ll be discussing only companies that have MC Numbers that ship vehicles. As you likely know, the broker is the company that handles pretty much everything but the physical shipment of your vehicle – but they still need an MC Number per law.
An auto transport company – really, any company with operating authority – can have it revoked by not following the rules, and some of them will still try to operate under their own authority even after it’s been revoked. This can be a problem, but luckily it’s not one that’s all that common, which is good for you since you can rest assured that your shippers will have valid operating authority if you find them via our services. Operating without any authority is a federal offense, and perpetrators face huge fines and possible jail time as a result. Getting operating authority in the first place can be expensive as well, with permits starting at $300. They are also highly specialized, which is why many companies only transport one type of cargo (i.e. vehicles or household goods, but usually not both).
To learn more about operating authority, visit the official FMCSA website. You can also discuss your shippers’ operating authority with one of their representatives. If you still need to get some quotes to ship a vehicle or need to get in contact with someone who can help you ship your vehicle, you should take a minute to fill out our free online auto transport quote request form. When you do, you’ll get an instant price immediately right on your screen. American Auto Shipping is fully licensed, bonded and insured. You can also contact us toll-free at 800-930-7417 to speak to one of our own live agents, who can answer your questions and help you get your quotes to ship your vehicle.