B-132679, JUL. 25, 1958

B-132679: Jul 25, 1958

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INC.: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 19. YOUR CHARGES WERE BILLED ON THE BASIS OF A RATE OF 97 CENTS PER 100 POUNDS. IN OUR AUDIT IT WAS DETERMINED THAT THE APPLICABLE RATE IS THE SAME. IT IS NAMED IN PACIFIC STATES MOTOR TARIFF BUREAU U.S. GOVERNMENT QUOTATION NO. 3-A WHICH IS GOVERNED BY THE CONSOLIDATED FREIGHT CLASSIFICATION. IT IS A CLASS A RATE APPLYING ON IRON OR STEEL TANK PARTS SUBJECT TO A QUALIFICATION IN ITEM 31915 AND NOTE 86 OF CONSOLIDATED FREIGHT CLASSIFICATION NO. 20 BY WHICH PARTS MADE OF A COMBINATION OF IRON OR STEEL AND OTHER METALS MAY BE INCLUDED IN THE SHIPMENT OF IRON OR STEEL PARTS PROVIDED THAT THE WEIGHT OF THE OTHER METALS DOES NOT EXCEED 5 PERCENT OF THE TOTAL WEIGHT OF SUCH COMBINED PRODUCTS.

B-132679, JUL. 25, 1958

TO COAST COUNTIES EXPRESS, INC.:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 19, 1957, OBJECTING TO THE ACTION TAKEN (OUR FILES T-GAO-A 189669, T-GAO-A 189670 AND T GAO-A 223295) IN CONNECTION WITH CERTAIN SHIPMENTS OF TOOL BOXES AND ARMY TRACTOR TANK PARTS MOVING ON GOVERNMENT BILLS OF LADING FROM BARSTOW, CALIFORNIA, TO BENICIA, CALIFORNIA, IN OCTOBER 1953.

THE BILLS OF LADING COVERING THE SHIPMENTS OF TOOL BOXES DESCRIBE THE ARTICLES SHIPPED AS "TOOL BOXES, STEEL, NOIBN.' THE BILLS OF LADING COVERING THE SHIPMENTS OF TANK PARTS DESCRIBE THE ARTICLES SHIPPED AS "ARMY TRACTOR TANK PARTS," AND EACH OF THE LATTER BILLS OF LADING BEARS THE NOTATION "RATE .7875 WEIGHT 24000 AUTH PSMTBQ NR 3A.' YOUR CHARGES WERE BILLED ON THE BASIS OF A RATE OF 97 CENTS PER 100 POUNDS.

IN OUR AUDIT IT WAS DETERMINED THAT THE APPLICABLE RATE IS THE SAME, $0.7875 PER 100 POUNDS, AS NOTED ON THE BILL OF LADING BY THE SHIPPING AGENCY. IT IS NAMED IN PACIFIC STATES MOTOR TARIFF BUREAU U.S. GOVERNMENT QUOTATION NO. 3-A WHICH IS GOVERNED BY THE CONSOLIDATED FREIGHT CLASSIFICATION. IT IS A CLASS A RATE APPLYING ON IRON OR STEEL TANK PARTS SUBJECT TO A QUALIFICATION IN ITEM 31915 AND NOTE 86 OF CONSOLIDATED FREIGHT CLASSIFICATION NO. 20 BY WHICH PARTS MADE OF A COMBINATION OF IRON OR STEEL AND OTHER METALS MAY BE INCLUDED IN THE SHIPMENT OF IRON OR STEEL PARTS PROVIDED THAT THE WEIGHT OF THE OTHER METALS DOES NOT EXCEED 5 PERCENT OF THE TOTAL WEIGHT OF SUCH COMBINED PRODUCTS.

YOU CONTEND THAT YOU MADE AN INVESTIGATION AS TO THE TYPE OF PARTS INCLUDED IN THESE SHIPMENTS AND ASCERTAINED FROM PEOPLE WHO HANDLED THE SHIPMENTS THAT THEY CONSISTED OF VARIOUS TYPES OF PARTS OTHER THAN IRON OR STEEL. YOU ALSO MAKE REFERENCE TO THE FACT THAT "A WRITTEN STATEMENT BY LIEUTENANT H. F. BUSS OF THE UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS, BARSTOW, CALIFORNIA, DATED 5 MARCH 1957 STATES THAT "5 PERCENT OF THE TOTAL WEIGHT OF ARTICLES SHIPPED WAS OTHER THAN IRON OR STEEL.' IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT SUCH STATEMENT WAS FURNISHED BY YOU IN SUPPORT OF YOUR BILLINGS, NOR HAS IT OTHERWISE BEEN MADE AVAILABLE TO US.

THERE IS OF RECORD HERE (OUR FILE T-GAO-A 223295) IN CONNECTION WITH BILLS OF LADING M-1342392 AND M-1342396, COVERING TANK PARTS, A LETTER DATED MARCH 5, 1957, FROM H. F. BUSS, FIRST LIEUTENANT, USMC, ASSISTANT TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT OFFICER, MARINE CORPS SUPPLY CENTER, BARSTOW, CALIFORNIA, TO OUR OFFICE, WHICH READS AS FOLLOWS---

"PLEASE REFER YOUR LETTER FILE TF-MISC-C-HAC-VOU-NO. 223295-JLW 12/53 OF 11 FEBRUARY 1957 REQUESTING FURTHER INFORMATION ON MATERIAL SHIPPED FROM THIS CENTER ON GOVERNMENT BILLS OF LADING M-1342392 AND 1342396.

"IN REPLY IT IS ADVISED THAT LESS THAN FIVE PERCENT OF THE TOTAL WEIGHT OF ARTICLES SHIPPED WAS OTHER THAN IRON OR STEEL.'

THERE IS ALSO ON FILE HERE REGARDING THE SAME SHIPMENTS A LETTER DATED APRIL 10, 1956, FROM T. A. BRANCH, CAPTAIN, USMC, FREIGHT TRANSPORTATION OFFICER OF THE ABOVE NAMED SUPPLY CENTER WHICH STATES THAT THE "CORRECT DESCRIPTION OF MATERIAL SHIPPED ON SUBJECT BILLS OF LADING WAS "ARMY TRACTOR TANK PARTS IRON OR STEEL" AS INDICATED IN ITEM 31910, CFC 20.' SIMILAR STATEMENT BY THE SAME CAPTAIN BRANCH IS CONTAINED IN A LETTER DATED APRIL 13, 1956, REGARDING THE BILLS OF LADING INCLUDED IN OUR FILE T -GAO-A 189670. NONE OF THE BILLS OF LADING IN THIS MATTER CONTAIN ANY INFORMATION WHICH SUPPORTS YOUR VERSION OF THE FACTS.

THE QUESTION OF THE ESSENTIAL CHARACTER OF THE PROPERTY SHIPPED IS ONE OF FACT PECULIARLY WITHIN THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE CONCERNED, WHOSE DETERMINATION IS CONTROLLING IN THE ABSENCE, AS HERE, OF COMPETENT EVIDENCE TO REFUTE THE CORRECTNESS OF THAT DETERMINATION. UPON DISPUTED QUESTIONS OF FACT BETWEEN A CLAIMANT AND THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT THE UNBROKEN RULE OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS IS TO ACCEPT THE STATEMENT OF FACTS FURNISHED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS. SINCE THE CHARGE BASIS APPLIED BY OUR OFFICE IN THESE INSTANCES WAS CONSISTENT WITH THIS PRINCIPLE, IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT ANY REVISION OF THE ACTION TAKEN IS JUSTIFIED ON THIS RECORD.