Interstate vs. Intrastate Authority: What Owner Operators Need to Know
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Besides the words looking similar to one another, there are also key differences in what it means for owner operators to haul interstate vs. intrastate, and what permits they would need to obtain for each of them.
To haul power only loads from the DrayNow app, you are required to have active motor carrier (MC) and DOT numbers, which gives you interstate operating authority. You may be wondering, “Why do I need interstate authority if DrayNow has all local loads on their load board and I’m only looking to haul within the state? Isn’t intrastate authority good enough?” It’s true that DrayNow offers all local intermodal loads that aim to keep you close to home every night, but when it comes to authority, it doesn’t how short or long the distance is. It all has to do with the cargo.
When it comes to intermodal trucking, interstate authority is required because the cargo that is within the containers has been traveling interstate. Intrastate authority only covers cargo that originates and is delivered within the state. The cargo that’s in the container getting hauled could have originated anywhere that is accessible by rail, which is why there is a need to get that interstate authority.
“Short-haul” does not always necessary mean “intrastate” either. You could theoretically take an intermodal load 400 miles round trip and end up going through four states. In places like California, however, it is easy to find both short and long drayage hauls that keep you within the state, but if it originates from a rail yard or port, you’re going to need that interstate authority.
The process to obtain an MC number is an easy one, and takes just a few steps. After completing all of those steps, the turnaround could be anywhere from 3-8 weeks, so it is important to get all of that information in and sent out a few weeks before you’re planning on operating under the new authority. And in California, do not forget that you also need to obtain a separate CA number to successfully register in the state.
It can be difficult to navigate what types of authority you need for which kind of trucking you’re doing, but at DrayNow we’re making it crystal clear that the MC number that gives you interstate authority is needed to get you on the intermodal load board and hauling containers under your own authority.
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