Re: Seed Potato Shipments To Cuba (Waybills)

Dave Sarther

Dennis's response is very interesting.  It fills a niche of information and adds a dimension to my life growing up in Chicago.  During my formative years my Dad was a "weigh master" for the Board of Trade in Chicago.  He worked in the various grain elevators along the southern shores of Lake Michigan.  I can recall going to the harbor area with him when a Russian cargo ship was in port being loaded with grain.  Other times he would take me to the elevators to see box cars or semi trucks being unloaded.  He had that job for several years that I can recall.  Then it seemed rather suddenly that he was working for the Chicago Public Schools as a stationary fireman in a school.  I always thought that he switched jobs for better pay (he and Mon were supporting five kids).  Since those days, and through this list I learned that grain shipments moved to the IC because they didn't have to cope with the St. Lawrence Seaway freezing over in Winters and it was a more direct way to get grain to ports closer to the Panama Canal.  So maybe it was for better pay or that his job was fazed out.  I haven't been back to the harbor area in decades but I can imagine that the gigantic grain silos of Cargill, etc. have long ago been raised.  The Canadian National RR (IC) cornered that market long ago. 
Later,  Dave S.  Tucson, AZ

-----Original Message-----
From: destorzek@... [STMFC]
Sent: Thu, Feb 1, 2018 9:41 am
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Seed Potato Shipments To Cuba (Waybills)


---In STMFC@..., wrote :

Now this makes me wonder, why a shipper would bother with the longer rail-ship route through Milwaukee rather than rail-ship or rail-car ferry out of Florida?

Because it was an article of faith that water rates were always cheaper. That was the whole impetus for building the Seaway; bring ships into ports in the interior and cut the railroads out of the equation, at least on the long haul to eastern ports. Problem was, even as the Seaway was being built, labor rates were rising worldwide, and it wasn't too many years that shippers realized that rail rates were competitive with the cost of paying a crew for the two week cruise into the Great Lakes, and the Seaway traffic slowly died.

Dennis Storzek

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