June 3, 2022

What is Freight Forwarder (FF) Number in Trucking? How to get it.

What is Freight Forwarder authority?

A Freight Forwarder (FF) Number is an authority granted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to individuals, partnerships, or corporations to operate a business in interstate or foreign commerce. 

Freight Forwarders are responsible to arrange, assemble, and/or consolidate the transportation whereas the actual movement is performed by the FMCSA-Licensed carrier. They also issue bills of lading to shippers and are responsible for loss of or damage of goods.

To carry out freight forwarding services, the carrier must have a valid FMCSA authorized FF Number and a surety bond of $75,000.

How to get a Freight Forwarder (FF) Number

For an applicant to register as a Freight Forwarder, he has to visit the Unified Registration System (URS) as of December 2015. Now the applicant must provide information like the freight forwarder application form (OP-1 FF) and USDOT number, if applicable. Alternatively, you can contact a reliable service provider like DOT Compliance Group to do it for you.

There is a fee for each type of registration. If you want to register for freight forwarder authority for both household goods and property, you have to pay the fee for both.

It takes approximately 3 weeks to receive a grant letter from the date the application is mailed.

If the applicant has applied online the FF number will be issued immediately and will receive the grant letter within 15 days.

The grant letter received from FMCSA will include FF Number. This number will help you to get both a surety bond or trust fund agreement and insurance.

Simultaneously the FMCSA will publish the application in the FMCSA register. During this protest period (10 days) anyone can file objections with FMCSA stating why you should not obtain an FF Number.

The next step is to submit insurance policies. The insurance company must file the appropriate insurance forms within 90 days after receiving the grant letter and the date the notice of application is published in the FMCSA register.

Depending upon the functions an applicant wants to perform, the insurance company will file one or more of these forms on your behalf:

  • BMC-34: This form is for cargo liability 
  • BMC-91 or BMC-91X: This form is for bodily injury and property damage
  • BOC-3: You have to pick a process agent to file BOC-3 on your behalf. A process agent is a representative upon whom a court paper may be served in any proceedings. This form has to be filed within 20 days after the grant letter is mailed and the date the notice of application is published in the FMCSA register.
  • BMC-84 or BMC-85: This form is to get a surety bond (BMC-84) or trust fund agreement (BMC-85). Both of these cover the $75,000 requirement. 

Trust fund agreement is frequently used by large brokers and carriers. The applicant will pay the full $75,000 into a fund that cannot be accessed by him. 

Freight broker surety bond is frequently used by new brokers and carriers who don’t have much capital to work with. The applicant will pay a percentage of the $75,000 as a yearly premium.

Start your Interstate or Foreign commerce business today by applying for Freight Forwarder (FF) Number with DOT Compliance Group. Our experts with years of experience in the trucking industry will help you get your Freight Forwarder (FF) Number.



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