I appears to me you have it right, Peter, but I have a couple more questions:
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1) once delivered, did per diem continue while the consignee had their three days to unload the car?
2) OK so there was a huge amount of employment for accountants to keep all this pretty straight.
But did the railroads actually exchange money on a daily basis, or even monthly? For most roads
wouldn't this pretty much all work out in the wash? (Yeah, I know, NP never got their own cars
back). Or was it something that actually did result in bank transfers every 30 or 90 days or what?
From: STMFC@yahoogroups.com [mailto:STMFC@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Peter Weiglin
Sent: Wednesday, December 26, 2007 6:49 AM
Subject: [STMFC] Per Diem and Demurrage
So let's see if we have this straight, for the non-expert:
Per Diem is the fee that railroads pay to each other for the use of cars owned by the
payee railroad. In the STMFC days, that was $2.00 per day. The paperwork must have been
fascinating in the pre-computer age; calculating how much railroad A owed to Railroads B
through Z for the cars on Railroad A's property.
Demurrage is the fee that customers who receive shipments pay to the delivering railroad
if they keep a freight car for longer than the "grace period" for unloading.
Two different terms, often mistakenly used interchangeably.