Re: Milling in Transit


Ross McLeod <cdnrailmarine@...>
 

MIT - Traffic was initially billed to a transit station and had to be referenced as such on the bill of lading. There is a time limit on transit which I can't recall off the top but it would be something like 2yrs, (it varied by commodities) which meant to make use of the inbound rate when the shipment was billed ex the transit station you had to surrender a bill within that period to receive credit for the rate paid inbound against the outbound move. You could surrender parts of the bill ie some of the inbound tonnage or all of it, if you had tonnage left over you would use it against a future outbound shipment. On the outbound move you could surrender inbound billing from multiple origins, I am referring to grain here other transit such a creosoting poles etc was usually one for one.
 
Transit certainly predates Staggers, most railroad pricing probably dates from the period of this list. I have recently seen some correspondence on EBAY to the Great  Northern from shippers in British Columbia that dates from the 1920's, in my experience really not much different that subjects I worked on when I joined the Freight Traffic department in 1969, then renamed Marketing & Sales.  
 
Tariffs we used where of varying ages, none of the ratings to and from the US were ever at end level, you always had to apply Ex Parte increases to determine the final/current rate. The railroads and rate bureaus did not automatically update their publications and at one point the ICC forced them to apply updates or lose the increases but at that they was still something like four or five Ex Parte increases to be applied to the rate shown in the tariffs.
 
Diversions, MIT, supplying of speciality cars etc are all considered as "privileges" and are therefore chargeable. My own opinion was the if rate makers had to use the tariffs they published rates in the whole mess would have been updated in short order but again finding your way thru the mass of paper and obsolete rates to get the best published rate was the mark of a good rate adviser and the rate makers response to end level rates was that the increases could change after their initial publication therefore they could have left  monies on the table.
 
All tariffs have their own rules and regulations as well they are governed by the classification which on US traffic is the Uniform Freight Classification. I don't recall the exact rule number but the Omnibus clause is the one that calls MIT and diversions a privilege and is the basis for railroads making a charge for this service.
 
As for diversions, usually you could have only one. In Canada we had eastern and western rules tariffs each having their own diversion item therefore some shippers would try to divert the same car twice if it move across the country. I imagine they tried multiple diversions on cars they were in trouble with on the connecting railroad if the they had no success with the origin carrier. Obviously a problem for the roads accounting departments.
 
As for lumber if you billed a lumber shipment "for orders" to a recognized order point you were telling the railways that they could expect a change in destination. The charge for this service was slightly less than the normal diversion charge and you would avoid demurrage charges but would have to pay track storage charges after 72hrs.
 
For the most part other diversions were more of the nature of the consignees credit issues, over supply of product, strikes etc. Lumber was buying and selling on the roll. 
 
A mill might ship say ten cars for car of which they had five sales of their own, the balance they would put out on the brokerage market and the brokers would spend their day calling lumber yards trying to sell the rollers. They would never want the mill to find out who their customer was for fear of being cut out of future sales so even if they had a sale when they initially purchased the car from the mill they would consign the car to themselves and "release/reconsign" it thru the carriers to their customers. A charge which was I think approx half the diversion charge was made for this, basically just an accounting charge as the destination was not changed, if the destination was changed or the routing then it was a diversion. 
 
As to routings, they were slow routes that some brokers would use, either because they expected the price of lumber to rise or they might be unsure of the receiver ability to pay. Adding multiple carriers to a routing of course means the carriers have to divide the thru rate into many pieces therefore likely a move that none of the carriers actually made money on.
 
Lumber was a very labour intensive move for the carriers which they actively solicited. Many
US roads had offices in Vancouver specifically for this business as well the travellers from Seattle would call on the traffic people at the lumber brokers and railroads.
 
One of my predecessors showed me the sign he had on his desk when a saleman would call - "No loot - no route".   

Ross McLeod Calgary

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