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COACHES CORNER: Shippers- Six Elements to Drive Accountability into your Broker Agreement

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In many small to midsize shippers, the contract that exists between shipper and broker is a broker-generated contract the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) supports for its associated members. The TIA contract is a preferred agreement that allows a broker to formalize its relationship with the shipper. Throughout the past decade, many larger shippers have begun formalizing their broker relationship with their own agreements just as they do for their asset-based carriers.

A number of shippers have started to use their specific broker-shipper agreements to implement more accountability into the broker party including cargo liability. This erosion of a broker’s protections under the Interstate Commerce Termination Act of 1995 (ICCTA) and the Carmack Amendment may provide a false sense of security for a shipper depending on the size and financial strength of the broker.

A broker-shipper agreement should be reviewed by your legal team to ensure conflicts are thoroughly vetted between Federal and State laws. Notwithstanding the legal review, there are key elements shippers can add to their agreements that promote greater accountability. In turn, vetting the accountability with a thorough review of your broker and their operations ensures your broker can support your operational requirements.

Key elements to ensure the legal and operational side are adhered to:

  1. Qualified Carriers must meet the requisites of operating authority and safety rating. The broker must have a formalized carrier onboarding process that also includes a continuous process to ensure qualified carriers are meeting the requisites at the time of tendering.
  2. Requirement of the broker to provide an annual financial statement. In conjunction with a year-end income statement, monitoring a shift in the payable party to include any factoring company as a payor for the broker may signal potential financial challenges.
  3. Communication of any “on-hand” freight, delays, accidents or cargo thefts should be clearly outlined within the agreement.
  4. Diversion and consignment should not be permitted by the broker except when authorized by the shipper.
  5. The broker should have exclusive control over the carrier to perform the service requested and may not co-broker shipper loads.
  6. Should the broker not pay the carrier, the shipper shall have the right to pay the selected carrier.

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Brad Stewart, President

By Brad Stewart

Co-Founder, CCO

Brad’s journey into logistics began as a Marine Officer and transitioned from the LTL docks to the non-asset side within the logistics service provider arena.  As a co-founder of Rockfarm, Brad drives our business development efforts and delivery of our promise. An Arizona native, Brad enjoys spending time outdoors in his home state with his wife and family.

“Our approach to the market allowed us an opportunity to push forward in 2008 and enable our mission, “lower the cost to serve” to stand as a cornerstone to our company today.”



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