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Exempt, For-Hire, Cartage, and Private Carriers—What is the Difference
Published
August 23rd, 2019

As you scout out the best paying trucking carriers you most likely see terms that look unfamiliar. Exempt carriers. For-hire trucking companies. Local cartage businesses. Private carriers. Learn what the difference is in each of these types of trucking companies so you can get a better idea of which type you want to drive for next.

What is Exempt Carrier

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) defines an exempt carrier as a company that, “Transports commodities exempted from Interstate Commerce Commission economic regulation.” But what does that mean for you as a truck driver? The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states that a trucker working for an exempt carrier hauls exempt property for money. Examples of what constitutes an exempt hauls include the following:

  • Unprocessed goods
  • Unmanufactured goods
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Items of little to no value

Here is another resource, the Composite Commodity List provided by the Administrative Ruling No. 119 by the FMCSA. This list is super extensive and features things like cotton, Christmas trees, crabmeat, and turtles “sea or fresh water,” which are all exempt by law. This list includes non-food items, such as flowers, forest products, among which mesquite brush is exempt while peat is not. Hay, livestock, tobacco, and wool are exempt, while the last but certainly not least on the list is zoo animals, which are not exempt commodities.

A final point to make–if you are an exempt carrier, you are not required to have an Operating Authority (MC number) according to the FMCSA.

What is For-Hire Carrier

A for-hire carrier, on the other hand, is required to have an MC number. You can register for an MC number at the Unified Registration System online. In the process, you also get a USDOT number. If you already have an MC number or USDOT number, you need to apply online as well. A for-hire carrier is defined as a trucking company that is “in the business of transporting freight belonging to others.”

The Department of Transportation states that a for-hire carrier is authorized to provide transport for cargo. These carriers are also required to get an MC number as an Operating Authority and a USDOT number through the Unified Registration System. You can learn more about how to apply for a USDOT number and MC number via the US Training Module provided online by the FMCSA.

All of the major trucking companies that have truck driving jobs available here at Careers in Gear are for-hire in some aspect. These companies are looking to hire truck drivers like you now.

What is Cartage Company

According to the ATA, a cartage company is a trucking carrier that handles local pickup and delivery or PU&D. This type of freight is handled within a town or city, unlike regional freight that leaves the state. Examples of cartage companies include Crosstown Cartage, Canal Cartage Company, Valley Cartage Company, and Delta Cartage.

As you can see, you can work directly as a truck driver for a cartage company. If you want local truck driving jobs that give you regular home time—typically nightly—then this is the type of company you want to drive for. Search for cartage truck driving jobs here at Careers in Gear today.

What is Private Carrier

A private carrier is a company that operates trucks to transport its own products and/or raw materials, according to the ATA. Transportation is not the primary mode of business for the company. Examples of private carriers include Walmart, Amazon, and local grocery stores with their own fleet of trucks. If you are driving a truck for a private carrier, you are more than likely going to be taking OTR truckloads.

The TL freight will typically go over the road, which means regional or long haul trucking jobs. However, you are handling the same freight schedule and routes, as well as the same delivery locations in most instances. This helps you save time and energy on planning your trips as an OTR truck driver.

Choosing the Best Company Type

As a truck driver, you want to choose the best trucking company for your own career goals. Are you more interested in local or OTR trucking jobs? This will mean the difference between cartage and long haul trucking companies that you will want to apply to. If you want to drive for a private carrier, you might be concerned with missing out on the benefits and technology of for-hire trucking companies.

At the same time, driving just for an exempt carrier or a cartage company with local freight loads can be limiting to your opportunities. For some drivers, this is just the ticket as they want a trucking job that doesn’t require extra training and more haul experience. You can find all of these types of trucking companies right here at Careers in Gear. Start your trucking company search today to see what is in store for you.

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