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Opinion of the Court.
from its South Yards to Swift's plant, located on Junction's rails. The tie-up on Track 1103, described above, would be increased accordingly as trains consigned to the Stock Yards would have to place any of Swift's livestock cars on the Junction receiving tracks. The congestion and costs involved would be increased by the fact that livestock cannot be handled as easily as dead freight. Livestock cars cannot be "kicked" in switching operations as can dead-freight cars, which are stopped by collision with other cars. Livestock cars must be placed with a minimum of rough handling. Still further difficulties would be encountered because livestock must be unloaded, watered and fed every twenty-eight hours, in accordance with federal law. 45 U. S. C. § 71 et seq. When livestock arrives in Chicago, there are generally only a few hours remaining for delivery to unloading pens in order to comply with this law. Therefore, expeditious handling of the livestock is required, especially since there are no facilities along Junction's rails for such unloading, watering and feeding. Some 31 hours are required for a car of dead freight to clear Ashland Yards and be delivered. It is apparent that livestock must be handled in much less time.
If the complaint were granted, Swift would not pay for the second or switching movement by Junction. Although Junction has never moved livestock in the past except in an emergency, under existing tariffs it can charge Swift the switching rate of $28.80 per car now applied to other commodities. But if Swift is to obtain what it seeks, the line-haul carrier must establish as the line-haul rate a joint rate with Junction which is no higher than the present line-haul rate. This would mean that the line-haul carrier must absorb the switching charge, or that both the switching charge and the present line-haul rate must be decreased, with the line-haul carrier and Junction sharing in absorbing the amount of the decrease.
Opinion of the Court.
The delivery of livestock through this bottleneck of Ashland Yards must be geared to provide for the expeditious and special handling that livestock must receive. The huge quantities of dead freight which are handled' and the restricted facilities of Ashland Yards have resulted in the development, over a period of seventy years, of a complicated, intricate pattern of operation. For this reason, any attempt to change the pattern calls for the most expert consideration and administrative judgment-a task that courts are ill-fitted to perform. If the Commission gave weight to the relevant factors, its decision should not be overturned. We move then to the Commission's report.
The Commission found that in the circumstances presented the switching charge provided by the existing tariff would not be unreasonable or otherwise unlawful as applied to livestock, and secondly, that the establishment of joint rates for such transportation was not necessary or desirable in the public interest. It took account of the historical development of the Stock Yards and the delivery of livestock therein which together with the industrial development of the area have made further yard expansion impracticable. The Commission found that the switching yards are now highly congested and, as one witness put it, are "running bank full." While it is true that livestock shipments into the area have been decreasing, dead-freight shipments have increased severalfold, and the congestion will continue in the foreseeable future. The Commission gave careful consideration to the complication of operations through the additional and different switching movements required in the handling of livestock as contrasted with dead freight. Whether the
'During the years 1945, 1946 and 1947, an average of over 726,000 cars a year, loaded and empty, were funnelled through the Ashland Yards.
Opinion of the Court.
system for the delivery of livestock into Chicago which has existed for over seventy years at an established linehaul rate, and which has recognized definite terminals calling for a minimum of train movements in a highly congested area, should be displaced by another system which would further complicate the operations and would necessitate the use of properties and services not included when the present line-haul rates and terminals were fixed, is a question committed to the administrative judgment of the Commission. When that judgment is based on findings abundantly supported by the evidence on the whole record, as it is in this case, it is the duty of the courts to sustain it. Ayrshire Corp. v. United States, 335 U. S. 573, 593; Interstate Commerce Commission v. Jersey City, 322 U. S. 503, 522–523; Swift & Co. v. United States, 316 U. S. 216, 230-231; Adams v. Mills, 286 U. S. 397, 409410; Interstate Commerce Commission v. Union Pacific R. Co., 222 U. S. 541, 547–548.
The question of the reasonableness of the switching charge was posed to the Commission in the case of Hygrade Food Products Corp. v. Atchison, T. & S. F. R. Co., 195 I. C. C. 553. There, Hygrade sought to have the railroads absorb the switching charge of Junction, but the Commission found that it was a reasonable additional charge to the line-haul rate. On appeal to this Court that finding was not disturbed. Atchison, T. & S. F. R. Co. v. United States, 295 U. S. 193. At that time the charge was $12 per car. It is now considerably higher, but the charges for other commodities and services have risen also.
The burden of showing that the switching charges were unreasonable was upon Swift. Louisville & N. R. Co. v. United States, 238 U. S. 1, 11. On this record, that burden was not sustained; the charges having existed for years and having been approved as reasonable by the Commission and tacitly approved by this Court, Atchison,
Opinion of the Court.
T. & S. F. R. Co. v. United States, supra, their reasonableness is presumed to continue in the absence of a showing to the contrary.
The fact that the rate is so high that Swift finds it uneconomical to use does not in and of itself establish the unreasonableness of the rate. A revision of the switching charge on the ground of its unreasonableness and the establishment of a reasonable rate for switching was not asked. Any rate in excess of the line-haul rate to the Stock Yards was considered by Swift as unreasonable, as it was demanding a joint rate not in excess of the linehaul rate to the Stock Yards. Unreasonableness is not made out by mere assertion. Federal Power Comm'n v. Hope Natural Gas Co., 320 U. S. 591, 602.
It is next argued that because dead freight is delivered to Swift's industrial siding at the line-haul rate, it is a discrimination against livestock as a commodity to impose a switching charge in addition to the line-haul rate for delivery of livestock to the same point. That argument is completely answered by the Commission's findings as to the different and more complex nature of the switching services required by livestock as compared with dead freight. The cost of the switching service performed by Junction in the delivery of dead freight is figured in the line-haul rate. The line-haul rate for livestock, the reasonableness of which is not in and of itself attacked here, has never contemplated such switching services because Junction has never performed them.
Reliance is placed by Swift upon the case of United States v. Baltimore & O. R. Co., 333 U. S. 169. There, delivery to industrial sidings at line-haul rates had been the practice. The Cleveland Stock Yards sought to terminate such delivery because it owned a segment of the track used to serve Swift and wanted to prevent the use thereof unless livestock be routed through its yards and the charge therefor paid to the Stock Yards. In the al
Opinion of the Court.
ternative, the Stock Yards wanted the carriers to pay the equivalent of such charge for the use of the Stock Yards' track leading to Swift's industrial siding. Such a plan would have discriminated against Swift because its competitors could get delivery without the use of the Stock Yards' track and hence would be unaffected by the Stock Yards' demands. This Court held that the Stock Yards could not use its track ownership to work a discrimination which Congress had said should not exist.
"Here Congress under its constitutional authority has provided that no railroad shall engage in certain types of discriminatory conduct in violation of three provisions of the Act. The Commission found that discriminatory conduct here. The excuse offered by the railroads is that the owner of Track 1619 required them to do the prohibited things. But the command of Congress against discrimination cannot be subordinated to the command of a track owner that a railroad using the track practice discrimination." Id., at p. 177.
Delivery to an industrial siding at line-haul rates was there allowed by the Commission and sustained by this Court for the reason that the Stock Yards sought by its discriminatory act to upset the usual delivery procedure, while here, in a vastly more complicated operational setting, Swift would complicate it further by obtaining for itself a service at line-haul rates different from the usual delivery procedure and not contemplated or considered when the present line-haul rates to Chicago were fixed. If Swift were granted the relief it seeks here, it would be obtaining something that no other packer in Chicago receives, and, instead of being discriminated against, a discrimination would be granted in its favor. Swift already enjoys a competitive advantage because it can obtain direct delivery of livestock at its Omaha plant at