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Senator REED. It will be included.
Mr. AITCHISON. Special rules are applicable on certain commodities, such as coal and coke, at lake and tidewater ports.
In conclusion, we repeat what we said in the letter of the Commission's Committee on Legislation to the committee, dated May 26, 1942, that this Commission has consistently recommended against all proposed changes in the congressional policy of not legislating directly with respect to transportation rates and charges, as long as we are charged with responsibility for carrying out the general mandate of Congress as laid down in its general rules. The theory underlying the establishment of administrative bodies such as this Commission has been that in the interest of flexibility and adaptability to current conditions the legislative body should provide only the general framework, leaving the administrative body to apply the powers so conferred upon it to specific situations in the light of the facts brought to its attention.
Senator REED. May I ask a question there?
Mr. AITCHISON. Certainly.
Senator REED. In other words, what should a member of the legislative body do if he thought the Commission moved too slowly to meet its responsibility in an approaching emergency?
Mr. AITCHISON. I imagine that the first thing to do would be to remonstrate with them, and, second, that if the body was negligent in the discharge of its duty the President has a right at any time to remove the whole outfit and put some competent and diligent people in.
Senator REED. I should not want him to take such drastic action, Mr. Chairman.
Senator TUNNELL. He could introduce a resolution I guess.
Senator REED. A member of the legislative body, as the Senator from Delaware suggests, could introduce a resolution.
May I suggest, I want to be a very candid critic of the Commission, in a very friendly sense. I think it moves too slowly sometimes, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. AITCHISON. With respect to these demurrage matters that I have cited with respect to the "average agreement" and the increase of the demurrage charges by cutting down the free time, or rather the period when the advanced charge became effective, we moved before any resolution was introduced. We are at all times in close contact with the shipping organizations. We maintain a close liaison with the Office of Defense Transportation. The order of the President which created that office as a part of the executive establishment has directed the setting up of machinery that far surpasses any that we are able to put in operation, and we are attempting not to duplicate any work of that agency. To the extent that any recommendations might be made by the Office of Defense Transportation they would be given most careful and I may say instant consideration.
While admittedly some emergency might justify a departure from this policy, we do not believe any such emergency here exists. The Commission's powers for dealing with this situation are adequate. It is attempting to keep abreast of the existing factual situation, and it will not hesitate to use its emergency powers to the full extent deemed necessary. Accordingly we recommend that Senate Joint Resolution 147 not pass.
I think I ought to say that due to the shortness of time there has been no opportunity on our part to confer with the Bureau of the Budget concerning this statement, and we are not able to state whether what has been said and what will be said by my associates is in accord with the policies of the President.
Senator REED. This committee will not make a point of that. Mr. AITCHISON. This is the exhibit that I said I would present:
FORTY-EIGHT HOURS FREE TIME ALLOWED (EXCLUSIVE OF SUNDAYS AND LEGAL HOLIDAYS EXCEPT FOR DETENTION AFTER DEBIT DAYS)
From December 11, 1916, to April 30, 1917. -One credit allowed if car released within the first 24 hours. After the expiration of free time one debit per car for the first day; two debits for the second day; three debits for the third day; five debits for the fourth day; and five debits for the fifth day. Detention thereafter at the rate of $5 per car per day. Excess debits charged for at the rate of $1 per debit.
From May 1, 1917, to February 9, 1918.-One credit allowed if car is released within first 24 hours. After the expiration of free time one debit per car per day for each of the next 5 days. Detention thereafter at the rate of $5 per car per day. Excess debits charged for at the rate of $2 per debit.
February 10, 1918, to July 19, 1919.-One credit allowed if car is released within first 24 hours. After the expiration of free time one debit per car for each of the next 4 days. Detention thereafter at the rate of $6 for each of the next 3 days and $10 per car per day thereafter. Excess debits charged for at the rate of $3 per debit.
July 20, 1919, to March 27, 1938.-One credit allowed if car is released within the first 24 hours. After the expiration of free time one debit per car per day for each of the next 4 days. Detention thereafter at the rate of $5 per car per day. Excess debits charged for at the rate of $2 per debit.
March 28, 1938, to June 30, 1942.--No change, except that detention was charged for at the rate of $5.50 per car per day and excess debits at the rate of $2.20 per debit.
Effective June 1, 1942.-One credit allowed if car is released within first 24 hours. After the expiration of free time one debit per car for each of the next 4 days. Detention thereafter at the rate of $5.50 per car per day. At the end of each calendar month the total applicable credits will be deducted from total debits at the ratio of two credits for one debit. Excess debits charged for at the rate of $2.20 per debit.
Special average agreement rules are in force at Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and tidewater ports on commodities for transshipment to vessel.
Free time allowed for unloading cars at the ports is treated differently than under the uniform code of demurrage rules at interior points. Under the latter rules 48 hours free time is allowed, and for each car released within the first 24 hours of free time one credit is allowed, no credit if released within the next 24 hours, a debit is charged for each of the next 4 days the car is held, exclusive of Sundays and legal holidays, and at the end of a calendar month the total credits are used to cancel a like number of accrued debits. Excess debits are charged for at $2.20 per debit. Detention subsequent to the fourth debit day is charged for at the rate of $5.50 per day, including Sundays and legal holidays. Under the lake and tidewater rules each car upon arrival at the port to which consigned is credited with "credit days" equal to the number of days of free time allowed. All detention, exclusive of Sundays and legal holidays, is denominated "debit days." At the end of a period, as herinafter shown, the total credits are used to cancel a like number of debits. Excess debits are charged for at $1.10 per debit at the lake ports and $2.20 per debit at the tidewater ports.
Rates and basis for computing charges at the lake and tidewater ports are as follows:
Mr. AITCHISON. I have nothing further.
Senator REED. Thank you very much.
Now the committee wants to hear from all these various interests.
STATEMENT OF J. MONROE JOHNSON, COMMISSIONER, INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mr. JOHNSON. I address myself to E, F, and G of the letter of Senator Wheeler of June 22.
Question E-The lines of commodities in which the greatest delays in unloading have occurred: The information requested, submitted herewith, is derived from a review of the reports of the Commission's Bureau of Service field employees. This force consists of approximately 50 service agents located at important railroad and industrial centers throughout the United States. Fifteen of these men are regular employees of the Commission, and 35 have been temporarily added to the regular force during this emergency. These field service agents are experienced in railroad-operating matters and are used to promote railroad-operating efficiency, including the prevention of car detention at railroad yards, terminals, at industrial plants, Army camps, and naval and air bases.
Approximately 11,600 form reports have been made by service agents to the Washington office for the period July 1, 1941, to June 25, 1942. These reports have been carefully studied, tabulated, and totaled and indicate that the lines of commodities in which the greatest delays have occurred (we have not distinguished between loading and unloading, for such distinction is impractical) are as follows in the order named.
I might say, when I say "The lines of commodities in which the greatest delays in unloading have occurred," the list is led by shipyards and I might say commodities involved at shipyards.
Senator REED. Mr. Commissioner, perhaps you have already anticipated it. I was going to ask you later for a report upon delays or detentions in camps and ports and ordnance plants, and so forth, by the Army authorities and by the Navy where they are responsible. In other words, we want to ask these departments to expedite their loadings and unloadings, just the same as we are asking private shippers to do; and if you have not that information we are going to make a request on you for it either you or the railroads- -to furnish us information as to delays in loading and unloading war materials by the Government.
Mr. JOHNSON. I might say, Mr. Chairman, that we should be glad to do that, and I am sure the railroads will too, but we do not hesitate to embargo a shipyard any more than we do a receiver of perishables. Senator REED. I am glad to hear that.
Mr. JOHNSON. And in fact we either did embargo a shipyard or came so near that it relieved the pressure immediately.
Senator REED. When I was discussing the transportation question upon the floor of the Senate somebody asked me the question about charging the Government demurrage, and I told them I did not see any reason why the Government should not pay demurrage just the same as a private shipper. If the Government is depriving sombeody of transportation facilities because of delays due or undue delays-it ought to pay for it.
Mr. JOHNSON. We make no distinction.
Senator REED. Yes.
Mr. JOHNSON. Resuming, the lines of commodities in which the greatest delays in unloading have occurred are in the order named:
Shipyards; scrap; warehouses; perishables and staples; miscellaneous; petroleum and petroleum products; iron and steel; forest products; cans, bottles, and containers; grain and feed; coal and coke; Army
The statement with respect to shipyards, warehouses, and Army camps relates to all commodities shipped to these points, including construction materials. Because of our interpretation of "destination," we consider "commodities" a more appropriate classification of shipyards, warehouses, and Army camps, and have included them under that heading. The 11,600 reports already referred to cover 1,598,500 cars, which is a small number compared with the total number of cars handled in the period, but is, we believe, sufficient to give a result fairly dependable. The very business of our field representatives, of course, is to prevent car detention. Necessarily their time is almost exclusively devoted to the worst offenders. As we are reporting on the greatest abusers of car usage the comparison shown, of course, is confined to that class.
Question F.-The destinations at which most numerous delays occur: While we have information concerning most of the important cities of the United States, the offense of delay will vary among the cities and in accordance with the commodities considered, so we are replying to Question "F" considering destinations as certain districts of the United States, which are the districts to which our field representatives are assigned. The comparative extent of abuses varies in the districts in the order named. The greatest average demurrage per car held beyond free time was district No. 2, headquarters in New York City, and the remaining districts in the order named:
District 1, headquarters, Boston, Mass.; district 3, headquarters, Rochester, N. Y.; district 15, headquarters, San Francisco, Calif.; district 7, headquarters, Detroit, Mich.; district 4, headquarters, Washington, D. C.-and the worst delay here has been on coal, and the worst of the coal here has been the Government coal; district 8, headquarters, Chicago, Ill.; district 14, headquarters, Portland, Oreg.; district 10, headquarters, Kansas City, Mo.; district 6, headquarters, Louisville, Ky.; district 5, headquarters, Jacksonville, Fla.; district 12, headquarters, Denver, Colo.; district 11, headquarters, Dallas, Tex.; district 13, headquarters, Minneapolis, Minn.; district 9, headquarters, New Orleans, La.
If the committee desires a comparison of detention as to cities and commodities thereat, the information will be furnished the committee. There has not been time to make such a statement.
Car detention has fluctuated greatly within different localities. during the past year. Great changes have taken place in our transportation picture as a result of the war. Demurrage for the State of New Mexico in May 1941 when 2,264 cars were reported, was $314.60. In April 1942 when 2,691 cars were reported, the demurrage was $18,771.70. This large increase was due to the amount assessed at the new Wingate Ordnance Depot, Gallup, N. Mex. War activities have greatly increased in some sections that previously were not heavily industrialized. These emergency and varying conditions have required that we transfer from time to time our field force from one point to another.
The following are examples of recent decreases in car detention at a number of places throughout the country: