Page images
PDF
EPUB

NAME, LOCATION, AND CAPACITY OF TERMINAL ELEVATORS ON ATLANTIC SEABOARD.

Portland, Me.:
Grand Trunk elevators Nos. 1 and 2.

Lbushels_- 2,500,000 Grand Trunk sheds

--tons

15, 000 New York, N. Y.: New York Central, N. Y----

bushels...

800,000 New York Central West Shore No. 7, Weehawken, N. J---do-:-- 1,500,000 New York Central West Shore No. 8, Weehawken, N. J---do---- 700,000 Pennsylvania R. R., Jersey City, N. J

-do---

1,000,000 Erie R. R., Jersey City, N. J..

do---- 1,000,000 Lehigh Valley R. R., Jersey City, N. J

--do---- 885, 000 Lehigh Valley grain boats and lighters, Blacktown, N. J--do---

450,000 Boston, Mass.:

Hoosac Terminal Elevator, Boston & Maine R. R_ -do---- 750,000 Mystic Wharf, Charleston, Mass.--.

--do---

350,000 Grand Junction elevator, East Boston, Mass.

--do---- 1,000,000 Philadelphia, Pa.: Pennsylvania R. R.

-do---- 2,250,000 Philadelphia Grain Elevator Co-

-do---

250,000 Keystone elevator and warehouse-

_do---

500,000 Philadelphia & Reading R. R., Port Richmond.

--do---- 1,500,000 Baltimore, Md. :

Baltimore & Fidelity Warehouse Co--
Baltimore & Ohio R. R., Locust Point-

-do---- 2,500,000 Pennsylvania R. R. Co_

-do--- 500,000 Western Maryland R. R., Port Covington..

-do---- 2,000,000 Newport News, Va.: Chesapeake & Ohio R. R_

-do---

950, 000 Norfolk, Va.: Norfolk & Western_

-do---- 100, 000

Total ----

-do---- 21, 505, 000 The foregoing summary is somewhat misleading, as the zone" includes much more than the port. For instance, Philadelphia zone comprises eight cities with 61 elevators, having nearly 20,000,000 capacity. As a matter of fact, there are but four elevators at the port of Philadelphia and their maximum capacity is 4,500,000. This is but “paper" capacity, for the reason that the practice of providing separate bins for various grades of grain prevents the filling of bins to anywhere near the limit and rarely does a terminal elevator contain more than half of its theoretical capacity. The seven grain export cities of the Atlantic Seaboard, namely: Portland, Me., Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Newport News, and Norfolk, have an elevator capacity of 21,485,000 bushels ef grain. In actual commerce the aggregate capacity available for use, would be less than 11,000,000 bushels. Such figures speak for themselves. The total estimated capacity of all the elevators in the country is $88.900,000 bushels.

It must be remembered that on account of the concentration of ocean transportation from the Atlantic seaboard and the Gulf ports to the allied and neutral countries, which almost eliminates export to these countries from Australia, Argentina, and the western ports because of scarcity of tonnage, the overseas movement of grain and flour from the Atlantic seaboard will be greater and moreover constantly will increase as our Army in France grows in numbers. Federal oilicials estimate that the Government will provide bottoms for transporting supplies at the rate of 1,000,000 tons a month. Fully SO per cent, or about 800,000 tons, will consist of grain and flour. This rate must be kept up for some time, probably for years. The end of the war will not see the close of this immense overseas movement, for none of the countries now at war will be self-sustaining for many years to come, and the United States will be called upon to supply their food until they have restored their respective lands to the former standards of production.

It is therefore, more than ever, imperative that the transportation system must be so provided that any ordinary difficulty or obstruction will not throw the entire system out of order. A scarcity of elevator space combined with climatic conditions and lack of bottoms precipitated the transportation crisis of 1916. The elevator capacity on the Atlantic seaboard has been reduced since that time through the destruction of several houses by fire. No effort has been made to rebuild the destroyed houses nor to construct additional ware

houses. Your committee is convinced that railroad managers realized there should have been greater elevator capacity at their terminals but it is well known that the railroads, in expectation ef Government conscription, have indulged in little or no construction work for some years past, and this may explain why they have not strengthened the extremely weak link in their system.

Probably it is idle to attempt to interest private capital in constructing elevators at the port terminals at the present time, as there are too many other opportunities for investment which are more attractive. There is no other recourse, in the opinion of this committee, than to request and urge that the Government provide greatly enlarged railway facilities at all the sea ports, whether on the Atlantic or the Gulf, where such facilities are inadequate. It is the duty of railroads to unload their freight in less than carload lots. For that purpose they build freight warehouses at all terminals. Grain is freight and the grain elevator merely is a grain warehouse. There can be no objection to a recommendation by this association that the United States Railroad Administration, as custodian of the railroads, provide adequate facilities at the ports for handling this extremely important commodity. Whether the Government shall operate such elevators or not is of little concern, as we have assurance that private grain interests readily and promptly will arrange to relieve the Government of this responsibility and pay the expense of upkeep in operation.

Your committee, therefore, suggests that this association recommend that the Government, through such agency as may be deemed advisable, cause to be erected at such points as may be found suitable, a number of elevators of suflicient capacity to handle the shipments of grain advantageously, and that a committee be appointed to present this matter to the proper authorities. Yours, respectfully,

0. P. B. JACOBSON, Jinnesota,

Chairman,
ALEXANDER FORWARD, T'irginia,
J. T. BOIFEUILLET, Georgia,
B. A. ENLOE, Tennessee

Mr. JACOBson. The fact is, gentlemen, that at Portland, Me., Brooklyn and New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Newport News, and Norfolk, they have really only a capacity of between ten and eleven million bushels. On paper they have about 21,000,000, but when you take the different varieties of grain, they really have only about ten or eleven millions bushels capacity for hauling grain. The flour warehouse is in such condition that the present flour made by our millers in the Northwest lay in the open piers in New York and

Brooklyn for months, absorbing all the moisture from the Atlantic • Ocean. Two years ago, when I made the investigation, Consul Hobe

at St. Paul stood at Pier 36 Brooklyn, when one of the Norwegian American Line steamers had left. It was piled up; thousands and thousands of flour sacks from the North west. I asked the consul, " Ilow long has this flour been left here open on this pier?" He made the statement that some of that flour had been practically laying there 90 days. I said, “ Consul, do you mean to tell me that that flour has been allowed to lay here on the pier that long, absorbing all this dirt and moisture?” Hie said, “ Yes; we can not help it; we have no other place.” I went up to—in Brooklyn to Eighty-six Street, that has been built up, say, within 25 years; there are a great many warehouses on the piers, up to Eighty-six Street, and I have investigated nearly every pier in that locality, and I find the same conditions. So very often when this flour finally is loaded into the steamers it arrives on the other side in that condition and our millers and our grain men are given the black eye on the other side because the grain and the flour arrives in such a condition.

a

I am here to protect not only the producer of grain and the elevator men but also the millers of the United States, because they have been suffering a great deal in the last few years from that condition, Take the situation on the North River in New York; all the way up that same condition prevails—the open piers, and the flour laying outside.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you mean to say it is out in the open piers?
Mr. JACOBSON. It is out in the open piers.
The CHAIRMAN. Not in a covered warehouse?

Mr. JACOBSON. In Brooklyn it was stated there was a shed over the pier, but all the shed doors are open, so the flour absorbs all that fog and moisture that comes from the Atlantic Ocean.

Now, when you take the elevator capacity in New York you will find there is hardly any capacity. Forty years ago, when I used to take grain out of New York as a sailor and first officer of a ship, we had in the Atlantic dock and Erie Basin 7 or 8 elevators, and we had in New York about 18 grain elevators at that time.

Senator POMERENE. Where were the seven or eight?

Mr. JACOBSON. Down in the Atlantic dock and Erie Basin, and to-day there is hardly anything, except what is printed in that paper. [Indicating.] I have been to New York and visited the grain-inspection department and talked with the old inspector, who has been grain inspector there for 40 years, Mr. George White, and he has told me time and again that the condition is simply so bad that at times he does not know what to do on account of the Lehigh Valley, New York Central, Delaware, Lackawanna & Western, Pennsylvania. and Baltimore & Ohio tracks being filled up with cars.

Senator KELLOGG. As I understand, the trouble so far as the wheat shipments are concerned, it is this, that that grain is mostly, and must be, loaded from cars to lighters and from lighters to the steamships It is therefore packed up many times on the tracks for weeks during the busy shipping season?

Mr. JACOBSON. Yes, sir.

Senator KELLOGG. And instead of being put into the elevators at the terminal, it is loaded into ships as the ships come in to take it It remains in the cars until it is transferred to the lighters—that is a large part of it.

Mr. JACOBSON. Yes, sir; that is right.

Senator KELLOGG. Now, take the shipments of wheat from the win ter-wheat country; they are made to New York or Boston or wherever they go, mostly to New York, Boston, and Portland, during the months of September, October, and November.

Mr. JACOBSON. Yes, sir.

Senator KELLOGG. Then there are no more shipments of any ac count until after May?

Mr. JACOBSON. Well, there is from the Northwest, Senator.

Senator KELLOGG. I say, there is no more shipment to the seacoast that is, not much?

Mr. JACOBSON. Oh, yes, sir; I did not answer literally because 1 thought you probably knew exactly the situation, but I have a letter here from a grain-elevator man in Minneapolis that I will file with you, which states that two-thirds of the grain that was exported ori shipped out of Minneapolis is shipped from the fall to the month of, May.

Senator KELLOGG. Oh, certainly; but most of that is shipped in the fall.

Mr. JACOBSON. It is shipped from our territory.

Senator KELLOGG. But mostly in the fall; that is, most of the shipments?

Mr. JACOBSON. In the wintertime.
Senator KELLOGG. Most of it is in October and November?

Mr. JACOBSON. Not the heaviest shipments. They come during all this time up to May. We have at this time 12,000,000 bushels of rye in Duluth; that is, we take shipments for export to Boston and Philadelphia and those ports, but they can not get it out--that is, rye alone.

Senator KELLOGG. Does that go by rail?

Mr. Jacobson. That goes by rail. Now, we have got to get away from one thing, and that is, we are only looking for wheat because our grain department is coarse grain. That is the idea. We have 12,000,000 bushels in Duluth, and the Grain Corporation has in Minneapolis at this time 2,000,000 bushels of low-grade wheat that is sold for export, and it has been impossible to get it out at this present time, besides all the other.

Senator POMERENE. Why would it not be a very much better remedy to provide for the widening and deepening of this canal, so that the ocean steamers can get down the canal?

Mr. JACOBSON. You mean the Weyland Canal ?
Senator POMERENE. Yes.

Mr. JACOBSON. I think that would be the right thing to do. I have written an article on that.

Senator POMERENE. It ought to be done.

Mr. JACOBSON. I have written an article on it. We have with us Col. Wells, who you know very well. He handled the grain for the Government during the war, and while I was in Washington, about a year and a half ago, I had a conference with him, and he was very much interested in our work. Then I had a conference with Mr. Hines and Max Thelan and Mr. Chambers, together with some other representatives from the Northwest, and they were very much interested in this bill, because they have had experience, they said. At that time, of course, the bill first read that the Government was to build these elevators, but, of course, as the railroads have gone back to private owners, they will have to furnish the facilities.

There has been opposition to this bill by certain parties. I think Senator Kellogg has probably heard some of it. One criticism was “ How are the railroads going to get this money back?” The bill itself provides for that. The idea is that they are to be as close to the State low elevators as possible where the storage will be charged, and they will get their money back in that way.

Take the Northwest, for instance. The Great Northern Railroad has its own elevators from Seattle to the town of Superior. The northwestern railroads have their dock elevator in Chicago, and they built a very large one in Milwaukee last year. So the middle west railroads have done a great deal to help the situation, and we have been able to take care of the grain, but, money being high now, we can not store all that grain. We have in Minneapolis a capacity of 52,000,000 bushels, and we have in Duluth a capacity

66

of 32,000,000 bushels, and at Superior, I think, 28,000,000 bushels. When you compare that with the principal seaboards of the Atlantic, with only a capacity of between 10,000,000 and 11,000,000 bushels

, you can see what we are up against with our cars during the heavy season of shipment.

Col. Wells would like to have been present here to-day, but said, “If I can not be present at the Senate hearing—I am a very busy man-I will probably be able to be with you at the House committee hearing.” But,” he said, “I will write you a letter and I want you to present it to the Senate committee.” I shall be pleased to introduce that letter if you desire to have it, and I will be glad to read it if you desire to hear it.

The CHAIRMAN. It will be incorporated in the record.
(The letter referred to is here printed in full, as follows:)

MINNEAPOLIS, MINN., March 13, 1920. RAILROAD AND WAREHOUSE COMMISSION,

State Capitol, St. Paul, Minn. GENTLEMEN : My attention has been called to House file No. 10453, now being considered by Congress.

As a result of my experience in the Army during the war, I am deeply interested in any legislation which would tend to foster the development of acie quate terminal facilities at Atlantic ports. As director of storage for the Army, among other duties, I was charged with the responsibility of collecting at the ports for shipment overseas all of the supplies required by the American Espe ditionary Forces. The volume of tonnage moved amounted to about 50,000 carloads monthly and was distributed among practically all of the ports from Boston to New Orleans.

Throughout our operations we were seriously embarrassed by the lack of proper terminal warehouse facilities, and as a result of inadequate terminal facilities many thousand box cars were constantly in use for storage purposes. and this at a time when cars were urgently needed.

Through my intimate connection with the distribution problem referred to above, I became impressed, first, with the necessity of adequate terminal facilities for the handling of export freight of all classes; secondly, with the tendency of shippers to hold freight in cars on track pending the arrival of ocene tonnage, in order to avoid storage and handling charges.

As you doubtless know, the War Department constructed at a number of the Atlantic ports and at New Orleans warehouses and piers for the handling of Army supplies. In most instances these improvements were of a permanent nature and when the appropriations covering the cost of construction were secured Congress was advised that it was the intent to make these facilities available for commercial use during times of peace.

So far as I know, the facilities in question are still utilized by the War De. partment for the storage of surplus supplies, which, in my judgment, is an absolutely unwarranted and wasteful procedure.

With regard to facilities required I might say that not only should warnhouses adjacent to and connecting with piers be available for the handling of all sorts of package freight, but modern elevators so located as to permit direct loading into ships are also needed at many of the Atlantic ports. If proper facilities should be provided it would still be necessary to enforce some reguin tion as to the result of which shippers would be obliged to unload into storage all overseas freight for which ocean tonnage was not available upon the arrival at port. As before stated, there is a marked tendency on the part of shippers and ocean transportation companies to use box cars for storage purposes pend: ing the arrival of ocean tonnage. My investigation last year lead me to believe that this practice has always existed and that it has obviously led to the murtailment of the supply of box cars at times when they are most urgently needel for the movement of our crops, both for domestic and export shipment.

I am strongly in favor of the provisions of House file No. 10453, as a result of which the Interstate Commerce Commission would be required to investigate all complaints as to inadequate terminal facilities, and in event such complaints should be found warranted that the carriers should be required to furnish such facilities as prove necessary in order to permit the prompt unloading of export

« PreviousContinue »