Re: Shipping Coal - How Far?

Tim O'Connor


I don't know if that question is the right question, but I do recall
when I read Theodore Rex (story of Teddy Roosevelt's terms as President)
that the "coal trust" was one of the monopolistic trusts (or cartels)
that inspired the creation of the ICC and anti-trust legislation in the
early 20th century. Northern Securities (a big railroad trust) was another.

So yes, at the turn of the century - 1900 - there would have been lots of
"price fixing" going on, not to mention price gouging by railroads whenever
they could get away with it - That is, whenever coal companies and railroads
weren't owned by the same people.

But in general, I don't think coal prices per se were regulated once strong
anti-trust and anti-monopoly (i.e. pro-competition) regulations were in place.
Rail freight tariffs on the other hand, were strictly regulated until 1980!

Tim O'

   Thanks to ALL for your answers.  I learned more than I thought
I would.  I have one followup question ...

   I get it that the coal suppliers (mines/etc.) priced by the BTU.
But I don't think they were regulated.  So if you have 2 mines
then the one that is considerably further away from the buyer
might negotiate a different price in order to win a sale to a
buyer.  Right?  Or would the government step in and tell them
that they were being 'unfair' to buyers that were closer to
them?  (And presumably cause them to raise their price.)
   How about the difference in price possible for long term
contracts - such as "so many tons of coal over a year or more
that was delivered as so many car loads per month"?  And
as compared to short term contracts.
- Jim B.

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