The Oregon Department of Transportation (“ODOT”) has made a 180 degree reversal of its heretofore position to regulate Household Goods (“HHG”) transported in containers that are loaded by the customers. Effective immediately, ODOT is not going to regulate the rates or rules of carriers transporting HHG in containers loaded by the customer. This came as a complete surprise.
The email we received from ODOT stated its new position as follows:
RE: Containers, Vaults or Pods and Household Goods Regulation in Oregon
ODOT has recently received revised direction from the Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) which now concludes that the transportation of household goods loaded in containers by someone other than the motor carrier does not constitute household goods transportation and is no longer subject to ODOT Economic Regulation.
The revised DOJ advice effectively reverses current practice. Up until this time Oregon held the position that these moves were under the umbrella of household goods regulation. DOJ last reviewed this decision in 2004. Significant change has occurred between 2004 and 2013 with regard to economic regulation of household goods carriage. In particular, the 2009 Oregon Legislature (House Bill 2817) effectively eliminated the entry hurdle for new applicants for household goods carriage authority. In reaching the current decision DOJ considered the fact that HB 2817 effectively eliminated the economic value of HHG authority on a motor carrier balance sheet.
Oregon’s position has historically differed from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) interpretation whose definition excludes containers. Specifically, the definition in Part 375.103 states, “household goods motor carrier (3) The term does not include any motor carrier providing transportation of household goods in containers or trailers that are entirely loaded and unloaded by an individual other than an employee or agent of the motor carrier.” The differences, between the FMCSA and Oregon’s interpretations, were confusing to the customers and to the Industry. This change will streamline regulation by making it simpler, speedier and less expensive for motor carriers transporting containers in Oregon. Therefore, going forward it is the position of ODOT that the movement of pods with household goods does not constitute household goods transportation. This direction is consistent with the position of FMCSA and a number of other states that have also reviewed this question.
What does this mean to your company? If your company does not provide for the loading and unloading of containers, you no longer require Oregon Household Goods Authority or Rate Regulation (tariffs). Existing tariffs for the transportation of household goods loaded in containers will become moot. Currently pending reviews of tariffs for the transportation of household goods loaded in containers will be suspended and not processed.