The American Moving & Storage Association is the result of a merger of the three predecessors—the American Movers Conference (AMC), the Household Goods Carriers’ Bureau (HGCB), and the National Moving & Storage Association (NMSA)—each with its own distinguished history.
The National Furniture Warehousemen’s Association was founded in July 1920 on Mackinac Island, Michigan. This oldest trade association for movers in America later became headquarted in Chicago.
The Household Goods Movers’ Group of ATA (American Trucking Associations) was formed in 1935 by a group of 150 movers to establish a national trade organization to enhance the general business conditions of its members. The name was changed several times over the years, and in 1962 was changed to the American Movers Conference (AMC).
AMC’s purposes were to contribute to the growth, prosperity and welfare of the moving industry; to consider and deal with special problems facing the industry; to secure cooperation and better business relations among its members; and to promote activities that would enable its members to operate with economy and efficiency. AMC became the leading trade association of the moving industry.
The HGCB was established in 1936 to assist motor carriers comply with newly-enacted interstate regulations (Motor Carrier Act of 1935). Another basic purpose was to bring order to chaos at that time to provide stability and responsibility in service to the shipping public. The Bureau represented approximately 1,400 of the 4,000 movers operating at that time.
Since rate bureaus were new to everyone, from the start the Bureau became involved in almost every activity affecting the moving industry. In 1950, the Interstate Commerce Commission approved the Bureau’s ratemaking agreement (which granted anti-trust immunity)—the commission’s first unconditional approval of a collective ratemaking agreement.
The Bureau served the moving industry by meeting the challenges of federal legislation and regulations and it quickly became the industry’s principal ratemaking, tariff publishing and data gathering organization.
In 1982, the NFWA changed its name to the National Moving & Storage Association (NMSA). NMSA concentrated its efforts on niche market strengths: disseminating information to the small mover, sponsoring practical education, training and certification programs, and fostering networking among owners and managers.
NMSA also organized the non-profit National Moving & Storage Technical Foundation and applied to the IRS for 501(c)(3) status as a charitable organization, but never qualified. The foundation received contributions from the industry and associated fields, invested them, and used the interest and dividends to make grants to accomplish specific objectives for the betterment of the entire industry as well as the public it served. The foundation also provided scholarships to deserving individuals.
The National Institute of Certified Moving Consultants (NICMC) was founded in 1974 to unify and formalize training of professional sales personnel in the moving and storage industry, which became the first and only independent training and certification service of its kind. NICMC formally merged with the NMSA in 1989.
In 1991 the AMC and the Bureau were administratively consolidated to reduce costs, provide efficiencies, and expand services to members of both organizations. AMC moved to the Bureau’s headquarters building in Alexandria and Bureau president Joe Harrison was chosen to head both organizations. The consolidation enabled joint use of office space, computer systems, staff expertise and combined meetings and conventions.
After the successful consolidation, a full merger of AMC and the Bureau took place in 1994. The merged organization took the American Movers Conference as its name. The Bureau’s ratemaking functions were transferred to the Household Goods Carriers’ Bureau Committee, a standing autonomous committee of the American Movers Conference. The Interstate Commerce Commissions (ICC) approved the merger.
In 1998, AMC and NMSA merged to form AMSA as it is known today. This merger provided savings to members by eliminating some duplicate dues, administrative functions and services, plus enlarged the association’s membership, particularly in the categories of agent, local and international movers. At the same time the name of NMSA’s foundation was changed to the American Moving and Storage Technical Foundation. Its functions, however, remained virtually the same.
In the fall of 2001, AMSA founded the Moving and Storage Institute with a purpose similar to the National Moving & Storage Technical Foundation and applied to the IRS for 501(c)(3) status. The IRS conditionally granted the 501(c)(3) status, and when that status became permanent in 2005, all of the foundation’s investments were transferred to the Moving and Storage Institute and the foundation was closed.
The Household Goods Carriers’ Bureau Committee was dissolved effective December 31, 2007, as a result of a May 2007 decision by the federal Surface Transportation Board (the successor to the ICC) which terminated the rate agreements of all motor carrier rate bureaus, thereby eliminating the HGCB Committee’s ratemaking authority and antitrust immunity.
With a membership that numbers approximately 4,100 companies, AMSA today is the only national association representing all segments of the moving and storage industry. We represent the entire range of moving companies, from the smallest local movers to the largest van lines, from van line agents to independent carriers. We also represent international movers, moving industry supplier companies, and state moving associations.