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MCSA-1: New Form for FMCSA

Navigating FMCSA Updates: A Closer Look at the MCSA-1 Implementation

The New Year will bring new changes to the biannual updates required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Effective January 14, 2017, all required updates with the FMCSA must be filed electronically via the MCSA-1. This electronic form takes the place of the MCS-150 and is the result of the implementation of the Unified Registration System (URS). This system consolidates four different registration systems–including the U.S. Department of Transportation Identification Number System and the 49 U.S.C Chapter 139 Commercial Registration System. The update in paperwork will streamline the registration of new carriers and will prove to be cost-effective for both the motor carrier as well as the FMCSA.

Key Requirements and Submission Process of the MCSA-1

Any motor carrier (exempt, non-exempt, or private), broker, freight forwarder, intermodal equipment provider, cargo tank facility or hazardous materials safety permit applicant must complete the MCSA-1 to obtain a USDOT number. USDOT numbers may remain inactive pending a complete submission and approval of all filing requirements. The MCSA-1 must also be completed and updated to restore a revoked or inactive registration. The MCSA-1 must be completed online and, just as with the MCS-150, current motor carriers must update their MCSA-1 at a minimum of once every twenty-four months. Motor carriers are required to update their MCSA-1 within thirty days of an address change, change to legal name, or form of business operations.

Preview of the FMCSA Form MCSA-1

The MCSA-1 is an in-depth questionnaire designed to provide the FMCSA a detailed snapshot of the operations of each individual motor carrier. Therefore, all motor carriers, brokers, and freight forwarders must complete the MCSA-1 as completely and as precisely as possible.

Legal Name, principal address, and mailing address are key items to be completed and updated correctly. This information is used when verifying a motor carrier’s operating authority and insurance, so accuracy in these fields is crucial. The MCSA-1 is a comprehensive application, so information regarding the company’s operations is also required.

Motor carriers should be prepared for questions such as: Who owns the company? What commodities will be hauled? Is this an interstate or intrastate operation? What is your company’s EIN? The answer to these questions determines what additional items are necessary to be granted a USDOT number. Therefore, the application must be completed as accurately as possible to avoid any complications or delays in obtaining a USDOT number.

Notable Changes

The MCSA-1 does bring a few notable changes, the most pertinent being the discontinuance of the motor carrier number (MC#). Going forward, the USDOT number will be the sole number used to identify motor carriers, freight forwarders and brokers. The prior registration system used four different identification numbers, making updating and consolidating the information tedious.

The other major difference to keep in mind is the form can only be completed and submitted online. Previously, motor carriers could submit the MCS-150 by mail if they preferred. This process often causes delays in processing, which then leads to delays in reinstatement, updates, etc. Completing the MCSA-1 online will help deter such delays and prove more efficient for the motor carrier.

Taken as a whole, current motor carriers will not see a drastic difference in requirements under the MCSA-1 when compared to the MCS-150. The information required for registration is similar and the mandatory window for updates did not change. As mentioned above, the most evident change is that there will no longer be motor carrier numbers issued to new motor carriers, brokers, or freight forwarders. The sole use of the USDOT number for identification will streamline registration and will allow for quick and accurate updates with the FMCSA. Overall, the update to the MCSA-1 will be both time-efficient and cost-effective for all parties involved.



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