SMC³ supply chain education hybrid online education course to examine U.S. LTL transportation laws and regulations
Authored by SMC³ on September 6, 2022
Starting September 8, SMC³’s exclusive hybrid version of its LTL 204: U.S. LTL Transportation Laws and Regulations course will examine the regulations most likely to impact the movement of freight with an LTL carrier alongside live presentations from industry experts.
SMC³ recently spoke with one of those industry experts, Rocky Rogers, partner at Moseley Marcinak Law Group, to get a preview of what students can expect from this course.
What are your primary areas of practice at Moseley Marcinak Law Group and how long have you been with the company?
I have been with this practice group since mid-2017, having lateraled after practicing at another regional firm for six years. Initially, our transportation group was at a larger firm before we split off to form Moseley Marcinak in April 2019. Currently, the largest portion of my practice involves handling insurance coverage disputes involving motor carriers, though I also handle a fair amount of cargo claims and freight bill collection cases. An area of my practice that has been developing over the last several years is serving as a sort of outside general counsel to small and medium sized trucking companies and freight brokers, with an emphasis on the last-mile sector, advising and consulting on a myriad of different issues as they arise.
How important is it for supply chain professionals to learn the basics of LTL transportation law?
I think it is imperative to have at least a working understanding of the laws that affect the LTL industry. The legal overlay affects everything involving the supply chain. Especially in the current environment, it’s not if something goes wrong, but when. Understanding the various risks, including those that you can or cannot contract around, enables you to best position your company for profitability during these challenging times.
Why is it important to keep an up-to-date knowledge of LTL laws and regulations?
There are certain areas of LTL law (i.e., Carmack) that have remained relatively unchanged for long periods of time, whereas others can change frequently. For example, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) can enact new rules that drastically alter the ability of an LTL carrier to enforce certain provisions in its tariff. STB rules frequently do not have the same buildup and scrutiny that a federal law would, but they have the potential to affect an LTL carrier’s operations just as much as any federal law. Additionally, while the text of Carmack has remained relatively unchanged for over 100 years, different courts have developed different interpretations over time.
For example, you need to know what a valid Carmack waiver is, and how that could affect potential liability, or how to properly limit liability based upon the issuance of a bill of lading. These sorts of things are most frequently set forth and explained via judicial decisions, which can come out at any time. I will also note that court-developed rules vary slightly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so it is important to note under which rule you want to operate and you can control that through choice of law and/or venue provisions in your contracts.
What can attendees expect to learn from the LTL 204: U.S. LTL Transportation Laws and Regulations course?
We will go over the most common issues that come up in LTL contracts and other shipping documents and how those may affect your rights and duties. Included with this discussion will be some analysis of certain contract provisions we recommend that you look to include and others that should be red flags. We will discuss what provisions you can contract for or contract around. We will also provide a general overview of insurance coverage in the motor carrier/freight broker/transportation intermediary fields and why, and how, those issues are important to consider.
In your opinion, what are the benefits of taking one of SMC³’s LTL online education courses?
It may sound cliché, but I think knowledge is power. The more you understand of the legal landscape affecting the LTL industry, the better positioned you are for growth and profitability. A legal blind spot can derail even the best-run operations. Through this course, you will get the benefit of hearing what has worked and what hasn’t worked for other LTL carriers in the past and our thoughts on “best practices.”