What is an MC Number & Do I Need It?
The Motor Carrier (MC) Number is the federal operating authority number issued from the FMCSA. Any commercial trucking company that wants to operate across state lines must obtain an MC Number before doing so.
You cannot obtain an MC Number until you have a DOT Number, as the MC Number is tied to your DOT Number. The FMCSA requires every MC Number to go through a 21-day protest period before activation, however the FMCSA will not activate your MC Number until sufficient proof of insurance is filed. As long as sufficient insurance is kept on file, an MC Number never needs renewed.
All for-hire carriers crossing state lines are required to have an MC Number. Having an interstate authority authorizes you to travel anywhere in the contiguous United States, but depending on the type of operations you are engaging in, other requirements are necessary to legally operate.
There are some carriers engaging in interstate commerce that are exempt from the MC Number requirement. For instance, carriers who are hauling only private property are not required to get an MC Number to do so. Additionally, some haulers of livestock and other agricultural materials are also exempt. The FMCSA can inform you whether you are hauling an exempt commodity.