The Unified Registration System (URS) and How It Protects You

Author: Kellie Morgan

If you’re involved in shipping at all, you’re likely already aware of the MAP-21 Act that went into effect on October 1st of this year. This groundbreaking transportation legislation was a major game-changer and there’s still serious buzz about its implications – especially hot-button issues like required EOBRs on all trucks and the broker bond increase (you can read more about those in our last blog on this subject).

Something that hasn’t received quite as much news coverage but will still have a major impact on the trucking industry is the implementation of what’s being called a Unified Registration System, or URS. This particular piece of the bill will begin implementation in just a few days, on November 1st, 2013, with a final compliance date and the system up and running by October 23rd, 2015. So… what does it mean?

What is the Unified Registration System (URS)?

This new electronic system will eliminate paper forms in the registration and record keeping process for all carriers, brokers, freight forwarders, and other transportation providers. All of these companies and their authority will now be registered and tracked in the exact same system, all in one place.

Sounds pretty simple! What’s the big deal?

Due to the implementation of the URS, new information disclosure requirements are being put into place. Because all records will now live in the same unified database, the FMSCA can link records together. Previously, it was requested (but not required) for transportation providers to disclose if they’d ever had a different MC number or done business under a different name. Because this wasn’t an enforced requirement, sneaky carriers who had terrible CSA scores or had their authority revoked could easily “start from scratch” and apply for new authority under a new name, with the FMCSA having no real way of tracking their history. These carriers were colloquially known as “chameleon carriers”.

Because of the URS, this information is now required to be disclosed. Anyone applying for or renewing their authority must officially declare their past MC numbers or company names so that the records in the unified system can be linked together and no past transgressions fall by the wayside.

Is this a good thing?

Absolutely! It’s great for us, as a transportation provider who is focused on booking only compliant and reliable carriers for our customers – and it’s great for you, too, if you work with asset-based carriers as well as non-asset based providers like Trinity. There’s no such thing as a fresh start for non-compliant carriers anymore. If they’ve had their authority revoked, it’ll be a blemish on their record forever, and as long as you are properly vetting the carriers you select to move your freight, all of that information will be visible to you. In the past, it was possible to be duped by a “chameleon carrier,” but the chances of that happening to you now are very slim.

Have questions about the URS or the MAP-21 Act? You can read more about the URS here or just comment on this blog and we’ll help you out!

Categories: Carriers, Logistics, LTL, Truckload
Tags: fmcsa, map-21, urs


Jacob Hoppe, November 11, 2013

I am very much glad to add a bit more info August 22, 2013 - The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) a published final Unified Registration System (URS) rule that will combine 16 different forms that freight forwarders, carriers, brokers and other entities currently use to register or update their information with the FMCSA into a single, electronic form.

It was designed to increase efficiency by streamlining the registration process. Also, the FMCSA says the system will allow the agency to maintain more accurate information on the entities they regulate.

The URS will act as a clearinghouse on all entities regulated by the FMCSA, including motor carriers, brokers, freight forwarders, intermodal equipment providers, hazardous materials safety permit applicants and holders, cargo tank manufacturing and repair facilities.

“There are two effective dates for this rule. On November 1, 2013, (1) the new enforcement provisions for failing to file biennial updates according to the schedule in 49 CFR 390.19(b)(2), and (2) a prohibition on operating with an inactive USDOT Number will take effect,” the FMCSA states.

On October 23, 2015, the FMCSA will require all entities registering or providing information to the agency to do so through the URS electronic online registration process.

The URS will apply to all interstate motor carriers, both private and for -hire motor carriers of passengers and freight.


any, December 11, 2013

Nice to see this post thanks for sharing this post i really love this article.

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