MAP-21, the short-hand for Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, took effect October 1 of last year (and shortly thereafter we asked if your supply chain was compliant in Part I and Part II). This 584 page monstrosity had ramifications across your transportation-based supply chain and included, among other things, in the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act: Subtitle 1, section 32918, a requirement that each broker subject to the requirements of this section shall provide financial security of $75,000 for purposes of this subsection, regardless of the number of branch offices or sales agents of the broker, a seven-fold increase for the average small carrier.
As a result of this requirement, we asked if the act should be more accurately renamed RIP-21 as the act led to the forced closure of over 9,800 freight transport brokerages that were unable to put up the significantly increased bond. Overnight, 46% of independent brokers disappeared! Some eventually came up with the bond and reopened, but the number of independent brokers is down 40% year over year.
So what does this have to do with increased cargo theft? One of the fastest growing forms of cargo-theft is deceptive / fictitious pick-ups. The scheme, as described in an AP article last year on how thieves pose as truckers to steal huge cargo loads, works as follows.
Thieves assume the identity of a trucking company, often by reactivating a dormant Department of Transportation carrier number from a government website for as little as $300. That lets them pretend to be a long-established firm with a seemingly good safety record. The fraud often includes paperwork such as insurance policies, fake driver’s licenses and other documents.
Then the con artists offer low bids to freight brokers who handle shipping for numerous companies. When the truckers show up at a company, everything seems legitimate. But once driven away, the goods are never seen again.
And now thieves have over 9,000 cargo companies, many of whom with good safety records, to work with. Now more than ever, you need to keep a close eye on your cargo on American soil, or you may not see it again! Makes you wonder just who MAP-21 is for, eh?