You may be wondering who a process agent is and how is he or she is different from an agent for service? Well, a process agent is a representative that gets served in the event of a legal matter, but they specialize in lawsuits made against motor carriers, brokers, and freight forwarders. Every motor carrier of property or passengers, under provisions from the Unified Registration System, or URS, must have a process agent in each state where it is authorized to operate and in every state it must cross during such operations. A broker, by law, must list process agents in every state where it has an office and where it creates contracts.
Is a Process Agent Necessary?
Any motor carrier with an MC number, or any broker or any freight forwarder in general, requires a process agent according to federal regulations. Remember, process agents are needed in every state that you travel through or operate in. Blanket process agent service means that you should be covered anywhere in the continental 48 states.
Private motor carriers or those that do not participate in interstate operation do not require a process agent.
Designating a Process Agent
The applicant can choose a process agent, who will need to file Form BOC-3, or the Designation of Process Agents, with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA. It must list each state where agency designations are necessary. The carrier or broker must retain a copy of the form at its principal office.
Companies are not limited to blanket companies that operate from their domicile state. After all, by choosing a blanket company, you will notice that there are process agents that work with them in every state. However, any person, association, or corporation designated as a process agent for a specific state must reside there. That being said, a carrier, broker, or freight forwarder can designate his or herself as a process agent for the state that he or she resides in.