Although the FMCSA’s implementation of the Unified Registration System (URS) has been ongoing since late 2015, certain aspects were delayed. Many compliance dates now extend into January 2017, giving motor carriers more time to comply with regulatory requirements. Ultimately, the URS will overhaul the existing ID numbers transportation businesses must obtain and convert the registration process from paper to electronic. Here’s what you need to know.
The Current Status of the URS
The first phase of the implementation began in December 2015 and only affected new applicants who registered for the first time. At that time, the FMCSA began processing all new applications through the online registration. The second phase of the implementation was originally scheduled for rollout in September 2016; however, all effective dates were moved to early 2017. The new effective dates are as follows:
- January 14, 2017. On this date, existing businesses currently using FF, MC, MX, or USDOT numbers must transition to the new online URS system for registrations and changes. The USDOT will become your single unique identifier. A new fee schedule will also begin.
- January 14 also represents the registration deadline for an FMCSA portal account. Every business affected by the rulings must register on the FMCSA website.
- April 14, 2017. Before this date, all exempt for-hire motor carriers and private HM must provide insurance documentation and use form BOC-3 to assign a process agent.
You can read more about the extension ruling in the Federal Register. The URS rulings affect all existing and new transportation organizations, including intermodal equipment providers, hazardous materials safety permit holders and applicants, motor carriers, brokers, cargo tank manufacturing/repair facilities, and freight forwarders.
Why the Transportation Industry Is Overhauling the Registration Process
According to the FMCA, the changes represent around $9 million in savings over a decade. In addition to cost savings, the system facilitates regulatory compliance activities. For affected organizations, the online processing capabilities are expected to streamline registration, update, and documentation activities.
Tips for Streamlining URS Conversion
Although the changes won’t arrive until mid-January 2017, organizations may want to start early by preparing insurance documentation, updating forms, and developing new internal processes. Here are a few tips to help you and your organization prepare:
- Go through the self-paced training. The FMCSA created an online training course so organizations can learn more about how to use the URS system. Take the course at least a month in advance of the deadlines to improve your ability to transition.
- Consider third-party processing. To cut down on the amount of oversight and due diligence your organization needs to perform, consider investing in a third-party processor to help maintain compliance with the URS requirements.
- Mark your calendar. While media stories and notices will provide some reminders, consider giving yourself a head start with some simple calendar reminders. Break up the transitioning process so you can have peace of mind regarding your transition.
The FMCSA URS is good news for everyone involved. All businesses around the globe are going digital, and this transition will bring the transportation industry into the modern age.