B-159050, NOV. 1, 1966

B-159050: Nov 1, 1966

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INC.: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 21. THE DISALLOWANCES WERE MADE ON THE BASIS THAT THE GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING CONTRACT IN EACH OF THE THREE INSTANCES INVOLVED WAS MADE WITH CONSOLIDATED CONTAINER CARRIERS AND THAT BILLS FOR THE THROUGH SERVICES ON THE DISALLOWED CLAIMS WERE SUBMITTED BY CONSOLIDATED AND PAID BY GOVERNMENT DISBURSING OFFICERS IN FEBRUARY AND APRIL 1965. THE CLAIMS ARE IDENTIFIED BY OUR NUMBERS TK-814044. GOVERNMENT BILLS OF LADING ISSUED TO COVER THE THREE SHIPMENTS THROUGH TO DESTINATIONS FROM INLAND POINTS OF ORIGIN IN THE UNITED STATES SHOW THAT THEY WERE ACCEPTED FOR TRANSPORTATION BY REPUBLIC VAN AND STORAGE COMPANY. WAS SUBMITTED MARCH 22. WAS SUBMITTED ON MARCH 29.

B-159050, NOV. 1, 1966

TO MOORE-MCCORMACK LINES, INC.:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 21, 1966, IN WHICH YOU REFER TO THE DISALLOWANCE BY OUR TRANSPORTATION DIVISION OF THREE CLAIMS FOR SERVICES PERFORMED BY YOUR COMPANY AS AGENT FOR CONSOLIDATED CONTAINER CARRIERS, INC. THE DISALLOWANCES WERE MADE ON THE BASIS THAT THE GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING CONTRACT IN EACH OF THE THREE INSTANCES INVOLVED WAS MADE WITH CONSOLIDATED CONTAINER CARRIERS AND THAT BILLS FOR THE THROUGH SERVICES ON THE DISALLOWED CLAIMS WERE SUBMITTED BY CONSOLIDATED AND PAID BY GOVERNMENT DISBURSING OFFICERS IN FEBRUARY AND APRIL 1965. YOU REQUEST REVIEW OF THE DISALLOWANCES.

THE CLAIMS ARE IDENTIFIED BY OUR NUMBERS TK-814044, TK-813510, AND TK- 813512, AND YOUR BILL NUMBERS VAN LINE 2, VAN LINE 3, AND VAN LINE 4, RESPECTIVELY. THOSE BILLS STATE CLAIMS OF $1,161.11, $2,049.30, AND $2,061.38 FOR SERVICES IN CONNECTION WITH THE OCEAN TRANSPORTATION OF THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF T/SGT. DELBERT T. SHAW, JOHN S. TILTON, AND HART G. SPRAGER FROM BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, TO MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY (SHAW), AND RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (TILTON AND SPRAGER).

GOVERNMENT BILLS OF LADING ISSUED TO COVER THE THREE SHIPMENTS THROUGH TO DESTINATIONS FROM INLAND POINTS OF ORIGIN IN THE UNITED STATES SHOW THAT THEY WERE ACCEPTED FOR TRANSPORTATION BY REPUBLIC VAN AND STORAGE COMPANY, AS AGENT FOR CONSOLIDATED CONTAINER CARRIERS. CONSOLIDATED CONTAINER CARRIERS' BILL NO. 1691, COVERING THROUGH CHARGES FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF SHAW'S HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, WAS SUBMITTED MARCH 22, 1965, AND PAID IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,542.98 BY THE ARMY FINANCE CENTER ON APRIL 20, 1965; CONSOLIDATED'S BILL NO. 1697, COVERING THE THROUGH TRANSPORTATION OF TILTON'S HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, WAS SUBMITTED ON MARCH 29, 1965, AND PAID IN THE AMOUNT OF $2,606.34 BY A GOVERNMENT DISBURSING OFFICER ON APRIL 12, 1965; CONSOLIDATED'S BILL NO. 1495, COVERING THE THROUGH TRANSPORTATION OF SPRAGER'S HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, WAS SUBMITTED ON FEBRUARY 1, 1965, AND PAID IN THE AMOUNT OF $2,268.88 ON FEBRUARY 8, 1965.

THESE BILLS WERE REGULAR ON THEIR FACE, BEING SUPPORTED BY THE ORIGINAL GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING, A COPY OF THE OCEAN BILL, AND A DULY EXECUTED STORAGE-IN-TRANSIT CERTIFICATE. SEE SECTION 3075.20, TITLE 5, U.S. GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE POLICY AND PROCEDURES MANUAL FOR GUIDANCE OF FEDERAL AGENCIES.

WITH REFERENCE TO THE SHIPMENTS TO RIO DE JANEIRO, YOU STATE THAT IN ORDER TO PRECLUDE HARDSHIP AND UNNECESSARY EXPENSE TO SERVICEMEN AND THE UNITED STATES YOU RELEASED ALL SHIPMENTS, PRIOR TO INSTRUCTIONS CONTAINED IN A LETTER DATED AUGUST 12, 1965, FROM CAPTAIN LIPSCOMB, USN, TO MR. R. L. HANSEN, SECRETARY OF ATLANTIC GULF AMERICAN-FLAG BERTH OPERATORS AT NEW YORK, NEW YORK. THAT LETTER WAS BASED ON A MILITARY TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT AND TERMINAL SERVICE MESSAGE OF JULY 1965 (ALMOST THREE MONTHS AFTER THE PRESENT SHIPMENTS HAD BEEN DELIVERED), IN WHICH RESPONSIBLE MILITARY AND NAVAL PERSONNEL WERE AUTHORIZED TO NOTIFY CARRIER AGENTS HANDLING CONSOLIDATED CONTAINER CARRIERS' HOUSEHOLD GOODS SHIPMENTS THAT THE GOVERNMENT WOULD GUARANTEE ALL FREIGHT AND ACCESSORIAL CHARGES PROPERLY DUE THEM ON SHIPMENTS THEN BEING HELD BY THE AGENTS IN ORDER TO OBTAIN THE RELEASE AND DELIVERY OF SUCH SHIPMENTS.

THAT MESSAGE AND SUCH GUARANTEES AS MIGHT HAVE BEEN GIVEN TO OBTAIN RELEASE OF SHIPMENTS RELATED TO HOUSEHOLD GOODS OF DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE PERSONNEL ONLY. THERE WAS NO SPECIFIC AUTHORITY FOR THE CIVILIAN GOVERNMENT AGENCIES TO MAKE ANY ARRANGEMENT DEPARTING FROM THE ORIGINAL GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING CONTRACTS OR TO MAKE ANY GUARANTEE OF CHARGES AS TO ANY SHIPMENTS WHICH HAD ALREADY BEEN RELEASED AND WERE THEREFORE NOT IN A SO-CALLED "FRUSTRATED" STATUS.

WE DO NOT FIND ANYTHING IN OUR RECORDS SHOWING THAT ANY GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL MADE ANY GUARANTEE OR PROMISE OF CHARGES DUE YOUR COMPANY ON THE THREE SHIPMENTS WHICH YOU DELIVERED, APPARENTLY PURSUANT TO SUCH ARRANGEMENT AS YOU HAD WITH YOUR PRINCIPAL, CONSOLIDATED CONTAINER CARRIERS. THERE IS NO INDICATION THAT YOU DID NOT INTEND TO MAKE DELIVERY CONSISTENT WITH THE BILL OF LADING CONTRACTS, OR THAT THE EVENTUAL DELIVERY WAS INDUCED OR BASED ON A SPECIAL AGREEMENT BY THE RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS TO PAY YOUR CHARGES BECAUSE OF HARDSHIP AND ACCRUAL OF DEMURRAGE CHARGES.

YOU INDICATE THAT TWO OF THE SHIPMENTS INVOLVED WERE RELEASED BY YOUR COMPANY ON APRIL 27 AT THE REQUEST OF THE EMBASSY AND YOU QUOTE FROM A MESSAGE IN WHICH THE AMERICAN EMBASSY AT RIO DE JANEIRO EXPRESSES ITS APPRECIATION FOR YOUR COMPANY'S COOPERATION WHICH ENABLED THE EMBASSY TO AVOID DEMURRAGE CHARGES AND UNNECESSARY HARDSHIP TO THE EMPLOYEE. THIS MESSAGE APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN DATED AUGUST 27, 1965. IT DOES NOT SHOW THAT THE EMBASSY UNDERTOOK TO BIND THE GOVERNMENT TO PAY SUCH TRANSPORTATION CHARGES AS WERE DUE YOUR COMPANY FROM CONSOLIDATED IN EXCHANGE FOR YOUR RELEASE AND DELIVERY OF THE SHIPMENTS.

IN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, BEARING IN MIND THAT THE TRANSPORTATION CONTRACT IN EACH OF THESE THREE INSTANCES WAS MADE WITH CONSOLIDATED CONTAINER CARRIERS AND THAT IN YOUR CAPACITY AS AGENT FOR CONSOLIDATED CONTAINER CARRIERS YOU ORDINARILY WOULD HAVE RELEASED THE INVOLVED SHIPMENTS IN ACCORDANCE WITH YOUR ARRANGEMENT WITH CONSOLIDATED, WE CANNOT NOW AUTHORIZE DUPLICATE PAYMENTS FOR THE SAME SERVICES FOR WHICH CONSOLIDATED HAS ALREADY BEEN PAID. THE DISALLOWANCES OF YOUR CLAIMS WERE THEREFORE PROPER AND ARE SUSTAINED.