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FREIGHT RATES ON LUMBER.
UNITED STATES SENATE COMMITTEE
February 7, 1902.
The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Elkins, of West Virginia). This meeting has been called for the purpose of hearing the gentlemen present, who represent the lumber interests of Kansas and the West, and who desire, as I understand, some amendment of the interstate-commerce law. Gentlemen, we have just an hour in which to hear you, and you can parcel out the time among yourselves.
STATEMENT OF E. M. ADAMS.
Mr. E. M. ADAMS (of Mound City, Kans.). Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, this committee represents the Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma Lumber Dealers' Association; also that association represents the Southern manufacturers' interests, and behind that are the great interests of the people, and they are really the most interested of all parties concerned-more so than even the association we particularly represent, because they receive the ultimate benefits of anything that may be done by Congress in the way of strengthening the interstate-commerce law, which is, after all, what we are here for.
We in the West, Mr. Chairman, have suffered a great many grievances, among which are the excessive and unjust rates of freight charged by the railroads, and unjust discrimination in rates. We had intended to give you some facts and figures, having a prepared statement of that kind, but unfortunately that is not at this moment in our hands. Perhaps I ought to apologize, but the fact is that Mr. Burkholder, a member of our committee, who has possession of that statement, was detained so that he has not been able to arrive here from New York in time for this hearing. Consequently, while we are without data, yet we can briefly state our points. It might seem an unusual, almost an improper, thing if I should state to you the full extent of the discriminations practiced against us by the railroads; it is certainly astonishing. We appealed to the railroad authorities in regard to it, asked them to reduce the discriminations; in fact, to reduce the rates that they had advanced arbitrarily about a year ago. The committee of railroad freight agents, to whom we made representations, stated to us that they did not consider that they had had their share
of the Republican prosperity, of which we bad boasted, and as a consequence the rates were arbitrarily advanced.
The CHAIRMAN. By what railroads?
Mr. ADAMS. By all the railroads that carry lumber in our section, west of the Mississippi River; perbaps our secretary can give you their names.
Mr. GORSUCH. The Iron Mountain, the Santa Fe, the Rock Island, the Union Pacific, the Cotton Belt, the Kansas City Southern, the Frisco-in fact, every road that runs into Kansas City; there are 23 distinct lines.
The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed, Mr. Adams.
Mr. Adams. We complain that these roads arbitrarily advanced their rates from 1 to 5 cents per hundred.
Senator FORAKER. Did you state when that advance was made?
Mr. ADAMS. A little over a year ago. Perhaps our secretary can give you the exact date.
Senator FORAKER. That is not important.
Mr. ADAMS. We made a showing of facts and figures, that on general averages the rate on lumber per ton per mile was a great deal more than the average rate on all other commodities per ton per mile; that lumber, being a nonperishable commodity, should have a low rate; it is always used as ballast in freight matters, and whenever there is any- thing to be thrown out of a freight train on account of overloading, or for any
other cause, a car of lumber is side tracked; so that, in addition to the discrimination against us in rates, they also discriminate against us in the matter of carrying our lumber promptly and quickly to its destination. The railroads in our section, west of the Mississippi River, carry an unusually large share of the lumber, and it pays, too, large a share of the whole sum paid for freigkts. That is the claim we make.
Senator CULLOM. Allow me to ask where this lumber comes from.
Mr. ADAMS. Mostly from Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana, going north.
Senator CULLOM. Not from the North?
Mr. ADAMS. Going to all points through Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and to Chicago.
The CHAIRMAN. You do not have any export lumber?
Mr. ADAMS. The price of lumber advanced also very largely, which made it very hard on the consumers. It is really in the interest of the consumers—the general public—that we are here now.
Senator CLAPP. This bill that Senator Nelson introduced he told me was introduced at the request of the lumbermen.
Was it upon your request?
Mr. ADAMS. It was not at the request of this committee as a committee. I will say, however, that, as I understand that bill, it largely corrects the difficulties of which we are complaining.
Senator CLAPP. Are there any northwestern lumbermen here, as far as you know?
Mr. ADAMS. I do not know of any other lumbermen's association that is represented here except our own.
The CHAIRMAN. No; they were heard the other day by the Committee on Commerce. The basis of their complaint was largely the export trade to Europe.
Senator CLAPP. But Senator Nelson told me he prepared and introduced his bill at the request of some lumbermen, and I think there were some northwestern lumbermen in it.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Adams, you say that they advanced the rate from 1 to 5 cents per hundred. What is the ordinary rate, say, from Little Rock, Ark., to St. Louis or Chicago, on a carload ?
Mr. ADAMS. It is 23 cents a hundred to St. Louis from all points.
Senator FORAKER. What did you say was the rate from all points to St. Louis?
Mr. A DAMS. I said it was 23 cents per hundred. I was wrong about that; it is 25 cents to Kansas City, and only 15 cents to St. Louis.
The CHAIRMAN. What is that per carload!
Mr. ADAMS. About 16,000 feet of lumber in an average carload; about 16 tons to the carload.
The CHAIRMAN. What would be the through rate per carload from Arkansas? Would that be $60?
Mr. Adams. I pay on a carload from $80 to $90 per car, and from that up to over $100.
TheCHAIRMAN. You are a shipper or consumer?
The CHAIRMAN. I had received the impression that you were shippers, and were complaining of excessive rates from the shippers' standpoint.
Mr. Adams. No, sir; though at the same time we are representing them, in a way, simply because their interests and ours run on the same lines.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you have any complaint to make on behalf of the people who sell the lumber, or on behalf of the mill men, the manufacturers?
Mr. ADAMS. No; although they are interested just as much as we are so far as rates are concerned.
Senator FORAKER. What is your business?
Mr. ADAMS. Now, gentlemen, in order to make it impressive and to particularize in regard to the difficulties we have suffered in rates, I will say that a year ago we appointed a committee to meet the Gen