Fuel Smarts

Movers or Linehaul?

June 19, 2001

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As the household goods industry swings into its peak season, new services offering a cross between full-service moving companies and U-Haul may get a closer regulatory look.

At issue are services provided by less-than-truckload carriers Consolidated Freightways and ABF Freight System. In 1999, CF debuted its CFMovesU service. Consumers have two days to pack and load their household goods into a 28-foot trailer that CF brings to their residence. Once the freight is packed and loaded, the trailer is picked up by a CF driver and transported through CF's nationwide network. Once the trailer gets to its destination, customers have two days to unload. CF then picks up the empty trailer. ABF has a similar service called its U-Pack Moving Program.
According to an article in the Journal of Commerce, the American Moving and Storage Assn. wants these services to abide by the same regulations traditional moving companies do.
"To me, if you're hauling a person's household goods and it ends up in a truck and you're hauling it down the road, you're hauling household goods," AMSA President Joe Harrison told the paper. "I don't see how anybody could see it any differently."
CF and ABF, however, say these trailers loaded with household property is nothing more than "no-touch freight," and falls under the same line-haul regulations as their other LTL freight.
Harrison told the paper he talked to CF and ABF, as well as Tim Lynch, president and CEO of the Motor Freight Carriers Assn., which represents the companies. When that didn't work, he appealed to the Surface Transportation Board, which oversees moving company tariffs and liability issues, as well as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which enforces safety regulations and consumer protection complaints. The STB already has said it has no jurisdiction over such matters, which the FMCSA has not responded to the complaints.

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