Insider Insights on Brokering with TIA CEO Anne Reinke
Want the inside scoop on brokering? Anne Reinke, President and CEO of the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA), is on the FreightCaviar Podcast, discussing some of the hottest topics in the freight brokerage world. This episode covers everything from the contentious topic of double brokering to how to make the most out of the upcoming TIA Conference in Orlando next month.
What is TIA?
TIA is a professional association for third-party logistics companies and freight brokers in the transportation industry. It offers education and training programs, industry research and market analysis, legal and regulatory advocacy, and networking opportunities.
Most of TIA’s members are freight brokers, and 80% of them have a gross annual revenue of under $50 million. Reinke emphasized that what is interesting about TIA’s membership is that the companies that make a name for themselves are the ones who specialize in a specific niche. For example, some members only handle oversized and over-dimensional freight, while others focus exclusively on pharmaceuticals.
TIA members have an ethical obligation to practice their business fairly, transparently, and to treat people well. Members who violate this ethical obligation could face serious consequences, including termination of their membership.
What are Reinke’s thoughts on double brokering?
The freight industry has been seeing an increase in double brokering, a fraudulent practice that hurts everyone involved, from brokers to shippers to end users. Reinke explains that the problem has been exacerbated by the increase in registered brokers during the pandemic.
“There was so much freight coming, and I’m sure there were new carriers owner-operators who were starting they bought a truck, they bought five trucks, what have you there has just been so much freight coming at you,” she says. Now we have an environment of inexperienced professionals during a downturn in the market. It’s an environment ripe for fraud.
Why isn’t more being done to stop double brokering?
Anne explains that the crime is “too perfect” because there are no consequences. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) does not have the resources to investigate all of the complaints they receive. Moreover, they believe they are limited to safety, not commercial disputes. Even when complaints are filed in the National Consumer complaint database, they are not investigated.
One member of TIA, a financial institution, has reported seeing hundreds of millions of dollars that they believe is related to fraudulent or double brokering practices. They are working with TIA to figure out how to discern patterns and combat the problem. They hope to turn the results over to the FBI and assist in pushing for change.
A Core Regulatory Issue
One of the primary topics on the table for TIA is the issue of motor carrier safety selection, a topic that has been a challenge for brokers for years. Reinke explained that “there has never been a complete rulemaking on what brokers have to check when selecting a carrier.”
FMCSA is supposed to audit carriers for safety, which should result in either a satisfactory, unsatisfactory, or conditional rating. However, Reinke points out that “92 percent of the carriers aren’t rated at all.” This absence of safety data makes it difficult for brokers to make informed decisions when selecting carriers, which can have significant consequences for public safety as a result.
Anne Reinke Outlines Safety Goals
Foremost, TIA has been pushing for legislation to create a more efficient and reliable rating system that would utilize the wealth of data already available online.
Reinke argues that “physical audit doesn’t make any sense,” and instead proposes a system that relies on existing data like police records, state inspection reports, and weigh station information. This new rating system would essentially provide an “up or down” rating for carriers, making the selection process more streamlined for brokers.
Reinke also notes that the current lack of carrier ratings disproportionately impacts smaller businesses and entities. She says, “if you’re a really cautious broker who just… only [deals] with those people that [they] see that are rated, that’s 92% of the capacity that’s not even available to you.”
Why the long battle for safety regulation?
TIA has faced opposition from trial lawyers, who argue that brokers should be held accountable for selecting safer carriers. Reinke counters, “tell us how; we would love to, we don’t know how. There is no way to do it.”
Additionally, Reinke states that new regulations would not burden carriers more. Instead, it would improve safety and provide a sense of security for TIA members. She concludes, “what organization goes to the hill and says please, we want more regulations? It’s sort of insane, but ultimately, it’s going to help our members and provide a little sense of security… and amplify safety.”
2023 TIA Conference in Orlando, FL (April 19-22)
The upcoming 2023 TIA Conference in Orlando, Florida, promises to be a fantastic event for those interested in the logistics industry and 3PLs. Reinke said this year’s conference has already surpassed the previous year’s attendance, boasting over 1,500 attendees.
The conference is ideal for anyone who cares about the logistics industry and 3PLs in particular. Attendees will include:
- Associate members who are selling products or services to brokers (e.g., software, TMS)
- Brokers, with an estimated 60-40 split between brokers and non-brokers
Format and Benefits
The conference will feature six educational tracks, with general sessions in the morning followed by breakouts into these tracks:
- Future Trends
- Modes (e.g., LTL, Intermodal)
The conference aims to provide new and engaging content each year, so attendees can learn something new while enjoying excellent networking opportunities.
- A session on ports, discussing the efficiency and competitiveness of American ports compared to international ones
- A discussion on sustainability, exploring what it means for the logistics industry and the EPA SmartWay program
To learn more about the TIA 2023 Conference, click here.