June 1, 2022

How To Get A Freight Forwarder License Easily?

Before we understand the process to be followed to get a freight forwarder authority/license, let’s know what a freight forwarder authority is and how important it is for you as a freight forwarder.

What Is Freight Forwarder Authority?

If you are a person or firm that is involved in the arrangement of picking up or delivering goods on instructions from a third party which can be a shipper or a consignee, you are a freight forwarder. This shipment can be from or to a point using numerous conveyances and common channels and carriers.

As a Freight Forwarder, you will be holding out to the general public to provide transportation of goods for compensation. You will require a freight forwarder authority to perform these activities and this authority will allow you to do the following:

  • Put together and combine shipments
  • Break down bulk shipments to distribute them further as a part of operations of freight
  • Take responsibility for transporting goods from the place of receipt to the place of delivery
  • Use various modes of transport such as motor, rail, or water (typically a mode that is under the control of the FMCSA)

FF Number Application Requirements – An Overview

You Will Have To Fill Out The OP-1 (FF) Application To Get Your Freight Forwarder Authority

This is the application form that you must fill in and it is for businesses that intend to operate as freight forwarders. They can request an Operating Authority that allows them to work as a freight forwarder in interstate commerce. As a Freight forwarder, you will be arranging transportation of goods only by FMCSA-licensed carriers. You will also issue bills of lading to the various shippers you work with and will be responsible for any loss of or damage to the goods in transit.

Freight Forwarder Number Lookup

Where do I go to look up my freight forwarder operating authority?

You can go to FMCSA’s Licensing and Insurance system and get all the info you need. Just have to select “Carrier search” from their pull-down menu.  You can also call their toll-free number and ask for the relevant info.

How To Get Your FF Number Easily And Fast

The freight industry is growing as we speak. If you are thinking about getting a freight forwarder license or want to know how to get an FF number, you are probably on the right track to a very lucrative career ahead.

1. Deciding Upon Your Business Model

The first thing that you will have to do before you fill in your FF number application is to know what type of entity you want to be. If it is a sole proprietorship, you can have full control over your freight forwarding business. If you go into a partnership or a corporation, the level of control is going to dilute a little and you should be prepared for that.

2. Choosing The Mode Of Transportation

The second step is to choose the correct mode of transportation that suits your business the best. You will have to plan whether you want to work in the air or by sea or by road. If you decide to incorporate a trucking company, you must get your license from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. As an ocean freight forwarder, you can get it from the Federal Maritime Commission. If you decide to create an air freight company, you will have to get in touch with the International Air Transport Association and the Transportation Security Administration.

3. Deciding To Be A Carrier As Well?

You can also choose whether you want to be a carrier in the industry or not. As a carrier, you will be physically transporting goods across states. Carriers do require a USDOT number in addition to an operating authority number. If you don’t want to become a carrier, you will only have to obtain an operating authority. To be more specific, it is going to be your freight forwarder or FF authority.

4. Registration For Your Freight Forwarder License

This registration process is something that you should pay attention to. Once you have decided your place of business and the transportation that you want to go for, you can contact DOT Compliance Group to apply it for you. You can apply for an authority for both household goods and property if you deal in them. After your application is approved, you will be granted a letter that will include your FF number.

5. Submit Your Insurance Policy

The next step is to submit proof of your insurance policy to the federal motor carrier safety administration. Get in touch with your insurance agent and submit all the required information within 90 days after you get your grant letter.

6. Depending Upon What You Intend To Operate, You Will Have To Submit The Following Forms:

Household Goods

BMC-34 or BMC-83 form

You must have a $5,000 cargo insurance per vehicle and $10,000 insurance per occurrence

Every Freight Forwarder That Operates Vehicles

BMC-91 or BMC-91X form

You must also have public liability insurance that covers environmental restoration, property damage, bodily injury, and the like


You must pick a process agent as well for your legal representation

BMC-84 Or BMC-85 Form

This is the trust fund agreement

This must cover at least $75,000

7. Get Your Freight Broker Bond

The final step is where you obtain your freight broker bond by filling out your BMC-84 or BMC-85 form.

So there you go. You have your freight forwarder license now. Wasn’t this process easy to follow?



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