The National Motor Freight Association Inc. (NMFTA), the trade group representing less-than-truckload carrier interests, said Monday that, effective next month, carriers can use an all-digital system to apply or reapply for codes that are required to operate in the U.S. and across North American borders.
The all-digital upgrade, known as SCAC 2.0, will allow carriers and other stakeholders to manage their codes directly with little support from the NMFTA staff and to do so around the clock. The new system is expected to launch April 10.
SCAC, which stands for Standard Carrier Alpha Code, consists of four digits unique to every motor carrier. The codes are necessary should carriers want to do business with the U.S. government or if they want to operate across borders with Canada and Mexico. Many large shippers also require that their carrier partners possess SCACs as a condition of doing business with them.
Some SCAC users have multiple codes assigned to them depending on the nature of their operations.
NMFTA has operated the manual system for decades. Companies pay the association annually to apply for or to renew their code status.
The new platform will allow carriers to apply for and receive their codes in real time. They will also be able to change important personal information in real time without first going through the NMFTA staff, the group said.
Companies needing multiple codes can apply and purchase them immediately, NMFTA said. Until now, users with requests for multiple codes had to endure a complicated workaround before obtaining their authorities.
The new platform also supports Spanish and French languages, the group said.
The platform will be valuable for international carriers that may reach a border entry point only to discover their SCAC authority has lapsed. Carriers can log into the SCAC application on any mobile device and either apply or renew and pay for their authority in real time. This will allow customs authorities to process the SCAC registration application and permit the driver to enter, NMFTA said.
NMFTA staff will still be involved in processing company names, motor carrier authority numbers and the mode of transportation, the group said.
Applying or reapplying for SCAC code authority “used to be a real pain point for trucking companies. They had to wait for us to do everything for them,” said Debra Edwards, NAFTA’s SCAC program manager. “Now the attainment and management of their codes is entirely in their own hands.”
Edwards said that NMFTA should benefit by freeing up staffers’ time to focus on more specialized and complex needs rather than having to deal with once-manual SCAC processes that have now been automated.
Besides the SCAC program, NMFTA is known for administering a decades-old formula that sets LTL prices based on how commodities are classified. In recent years, the group has become more aggressive in transitioning carrier processes to digital applications and to support industry efforts to protect the exchange of digital data against cyberterrorism activities.