The Transportation Intermediaries Association's
Eight months after the Transportation Intermediaries Association's (TIA) new $75,000 broker bond went into effect, more than 9,800 small businesses were shut down, and tens of thousands of people were put out of work... and after many years of campaigning in Congress at an astounding cost of nearly $1,000,000/year-- according to the TIA lobbying reports, the SECRET has finally come out...
While we knew all along that the TIA was politically maneuvering to create more market power for their Big Boy constituents by reducing the supply of brokers (21,000 brokers in the FMCSA census last October is now just under 15,000 today and we expect more losses by the end of the year) and making it more difficult for the entrepreneur John Q. Public to start up a competing business, what wasn't clear, was the BIGGEST reason why TIA went on the bond warpath so zealously. Until now....
For four years, I have charged the TIA with trying to defeat not FRAUD as they purported, but COMPETITION. What other trade group has ever asked for MORE REGULATIONS for their members, I asked. I have suggested the new high bond even violates the National Transportation Policy codified at 49 USC 13101, which encourages "fair competition" and "reasonable rates"; and we FOUGHT BACK for four years by challenging them in multiple arenas. For those of you who think the broker bond is a done deal and is now set in stone, think again...
There are THREE endeavors STILL IN PROGRESS aimed at challenging the high bond on moral and legal grounds in the interest of Justice: (1) The bond is currently the subject of a Federal U.S. Court of Appeals case filed by the trade group I founded in 2010 to compete with TIA called the Association of Independent Property Brokers & Agents ("AIPBA"); (2) AIPBA filed an "Exemption Application" to FMCSA one year ago, which is STILL PENDING, requesting that all brokers and forwarders be relieved from the new unreasonable hurdle; and (3) AIPBA filed a collusion complaint in September 2013 with the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division invoking the rarely used "sham petitioning" exception to the legal Noerr-Pennington Doctrine, that normally protects trade groups from Anti-trust prosecution.
On that third point, every time we call the Justice Department, they tell us our complaint is still "under review". Now, we don't know if that means TIA and others are currently "under investigation" because of the mysterious cloak-and-dagger way the Justice Department operates, but what we DO know is that "still under review" means our claims must be worthy of consideration nearly one year later and the complaint was NOT dismissed.
Now, onto the DECEPTION...
In investigating the TIA's material sent to their members, we have learned that what they told Congress and the public (namely, we need to raise the bond to "fight fraud") and what they have told their members are entirely different. I was quick to point out back in 2010 the now infamous "flip- flop" by TIA President Robert Voltmann, which, by now, if you have been following this issue at all, you must have come across...
You know how this charge goes... In 2004, TIA President Robert Voltmann told the trucking industry raising the property broker bond would NOT fight fraud (http://www.ttnews.com/articles/basetemplate.aspx?storyid=11447&t=Opinion-Higher-Bonds-Are-Not-the-Answer) and then-- after he began selling optional $100,000 broker bonds, he conveniently flip-flopped and changed his position and told the industry and Congress we very much needed a $100,000 bond to “fight fraud”.
So, moving forward with the higher bond never really made sense. Until, we look at two TIA documents...
Click this link and you will see how TIA spoon fed the higher bond to their members, 79% of which had asked TIA not to move in the direction they did according to a TIA poll:
"2. Why increase broker responsibility? The broker bond requirement has not changed since the mid-1980’s. All of the major transportation associations were calling for an increase in the broker bond, with some calling for escrow accounts and bond of $500,000. The $100,000 bond was determined to be a reasonable compromise to prevent escrow accounts and the public disclosure of broker margins. "
Aha! Broker Margins!
Next, see: http://tiaadvocacy.com/key-issues/transportation-reauthorization
"For its part, TIA recognized that Rep. DeFazio was intent on re-introducing the TRUCC Act, which would have required brokers and forwarders to post their margins on every invoice."
Thus, we shine the spotlight on the TRUTH. The REAL reason TIA agreed to the bond was to PREVENT the reintroduction of the TRUCC Act which would have required broker disclose their margins! So then , this WASN'T really about Fighting Fraud. It was about both STOPPING TRANSPARENCY and ELIMINATING the big brokers' COMPETITION!
THAT is the dirty little secret TIA doesn't want TRUCKERS and CARRIERS to know about.
So, why stop transparency? Because the big brokers know that if shippers and truckers ever found out just how high their margins really are on a load, they would NEVER agree to them. So the big brokerages' margins must remain SECRET at ALL COSTS!
How big our the big brokers' margins? Well, our undercover research shows that despite TIA's claims that on average, broker margins are around 12.5%, in some cases, some unscrupulous and unethical brokers are "earning" upwards of 45%. Price gouging? You betcha.
Now, some brokers will come back at me and say: "So, you are the president of a broker trade group and you are saying 45% profit is a bad thing? Why, that is Anti-American. This is capitalism." My answer: "No... but HIDING it is." You see, in America, before PROFIT, we are supposed to have ETHICS and INTEGRITY. For without them, all we have left is GREED.
And that's where my new group "Small Transportation in Transportation in Coalition" (SBTC) comes into play. It is a broad new coalition of individual members of the industry, corporate entities, and non profits who seek BALANCE and to 'level the playing field.' Of course, the big brokers are not going to like what we have to say, but the honest and fair small brokers who already are open because they have nothing to hide, will.
The SBTC is on top of all of the pressing issues from transparency to safe parking to making sure drivers are paid a living wage and get their fair share by fostering teamwork and partnerships in transportation. You can even join as a junior member for FREE.
To take on the issue of TRANSPARENCY, I am going one step further and am leading by example by launching a new brokerage, of which, I am general manager, called 12PL. You'll never guess what "12PL" stands for. 12 Percent Logistics! A fair and reasonable commission amount to be openly charged for brokerage services. Reasonable and customary! See our coming soon website http://www.twelvepl.com, which is still under construction at the moment but will be fully operational after Labor Day.
Overdrive is watching the "transparency" story closely these past six months with not one-- but two articles dedicated to the subject. See: http://www.overdriveonline.com/transparency-a-new-deal-for-independents-using-brokers/ and http://www.overdriveonline.com/talk-of-transparency-in-broker-carrier-transactions-continues. That's because
TRANSPARENCY is THAT important.
Want to get SERIOUS about transparency and partnerships? Well, then join us at the SBTC conference "Industry at Sea" September 12-15 (http://www.industryatsea.com). Overdrive is all over that one too:
...as is "The Trucker:"
Don't miss the boat!
Indeed, folks, it's time for a "New Deal" and a new paradigm.
Lastly, it's also time for a new regime. The big brokers and their trade group TIA under the leadership of Robert Voltmann have been plaguing and menacing the rest of the industry for too long. Much like we see changes in leadership at FMCSA from time-to-time, it's time for Mr. Voltmann to go. Forty of your colleagues are already standing with me asking for Bob to step down. To join us, click this link and then "like" the 'Top Ten Reasons' thread that appears to show your solidarity and desire for change:
No matter whether you are a trucker, carrier, or small-to-mid-sized broker, you will find a new home at the SBTC... geared toward everyone profiting from the supply chain. If you believe in partnerships, teamwork and equity in transportation, then you really head on over to
We'll leave the light on for you.
CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This e-mail transmission, and any documents, files or previous e-mail messages attached to it, may contain information that is confidential or legally privileged. If you are not the intended recipient, or a person responsible for delivering it to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that you must not read this transmission. If you have received this transmission in error, please immediately notify the sender by telephone (954) 253-5049 or return e-mail and delete the original transmission and its attachments without reading or saving in any manner. This electronic communication and any accompanying document is the property of Association of Independent Property Brokers & Agents ("AIPBA"). Unauthorized use, disclosure or copying of this communication, or any part of it, is strictly prohibited and may be unlawful. As electronic communication may be susceptible to data corruption, interception and unauthorized tampering, AIPBA disclaims all liability of any kind for such actions or any consequences that may arise directly or indirectly therefrom.