According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), commercial trucking companies must obtain an MC number or interstate operating authority number if they meet certain criteria. The interstate operating authority number is in addition to the requirement of obtaining a Department of Transportation (DOT) number.
These criteria include businesses that:
- Transport people paying a monetary fee or another form of compensation while engaged in interstate commerce. This fee can either be a direct or indirect form of payment.
- Transport commodities regulated by the federal government and owned by another party in exchange for a direct or implied payment while completing the act of interstate commerce.
Types of authority granted by the FMCSA.
You may hear FMCSA trucking operating authority referred to by different names, including FF, MC, or MX, depending on which type of authority the trucking company applies for and the agency grants to it. This differs from the US DOT program that requires only a single application. The operating authority number gives truckers the legal right to transport certain types of cargo and to drive the truck to certain locations. The most common operating authority numbers issued by the FMCSA include:
- Broker of Household Goods
- Broker of Property
- Freight Forwarder Authority
- Mexico-Based Carriers for Motor Carrier Authority to Operate Beyond U.S. Municipalities and Commercial Zones on the U.S.-Mexican Border
- Mexican Certificate of Registration for Foreign Motor Carriers and Foreign Motor Private Carriers
- Motor Carrier of Household Goods
- Motor Carrier of Property
- Motor Carrier Passenger Authority
- Non-North America Domiciled Motor Carriers
- United States-Based Enterprise Carrier of International Cargo, except for household goods
- United States-Based Enterprise Carrier of International Household Goods
Although this is a long list, several types of carriers do not need to receive operating authority from the FMCSA. This includes carriers operating in a commercial zone that has received federal designation and exemption from compliance with interstate authority rules. Other types of truckers exempt from the requirement include for-hire carriers who haul only cargo not subject to federal regulation and carriers transporting their own personal cargo. Keep in mind signing up for the wrong types of cargo can greatly effect your insurance rates. Talk to an expert before getting your DOT authority and MC# so there are no surprises.
Commercial truck insurance requirements after receiving your trucking authority number.
The FMCSA gives you two weeks from the time you obtain your trucking authority number to obtain both primary liability insurance and cargo insurance. Insurers typically recommend taking out a primary liability policy worth at least one million dollars and a cargo policy worth at least $100,000. If you delay obtaining insurance and providing the policy information to the FMCSA, it will cancel your application. You will need to repeat the entire application process if you do not get the insurance requirement on file with the FMCSA within 12 months.
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