What Is the Difference between a Motor Common Carrier and a Contract Carrier

When it comes to the transportation industry, there are two types of carriers: motor common carriers and contract carriers. While they may seem similar, there are some key differences that set them apart.

Motor common carriers are companies that provide transportation services to the general public. They offer their services to anyone who needs to ship goods from one location to another. They are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and must comply with various safety and operational standards.

On the other hand, contract carriers provide transportation services to specific customers under contract. They are not available to the general public and are not regulated by the FMCSA. Instead, they negotiate contracts with their customers, which outline the terms and conditions of the transportation service.

One of the main differences between the two is liability. Motor common carriers are liable for any damage or loss of the goods they transport, while contract carriers are not. Since contract carriers operate under a contract, they are only responsible for the terms outlined in that agreement.

Another difference is flexibility. Motor common carriers have set schedules and routes, while contract carriers can operate under more flexible arrangements. Since they are contracted by specific customers, they can adapt to their schedules and needs.

Finally, cost is another factor that sets the two apart. Motor common carriers are generally less expensive than contract carriers. This is because they offer their services to the general public and have a larger customer base, which allows them to spread their costs and offer lower prices.

In conclusion, while both motor common carriers and contract carriers provide transportation services, there are important differences to consider. If you are looking for a transportation service that is regulated and offers liability coverage, a motor common carrier is the way to go. However, if you need a more flexible arrangement and are willing to negotiate a contract, a contract carrier may be a better fit for your needs.

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