B-240451, Mar 15, 1991, 91-1 CPD ***

B-240451: Mar 15, 1991

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The basis for GSA's action was that Whitten charged for two escort vehicles even though the carrier provided only one. These were governed by Item 41 of the Military Traffic Management Command's (MTMC) Freight Traffic Rules Publication No. 1A (MFTRP 1A). Maintains that the escort service charge is a mileage charge per escort vehicle used in each GBL shipment. We first note that no matter how many vehicles were used to transport these explosives. There is only one shipment involved here. It is irrelevant that two vehicles were used to transport cargo from the same shipment. We think it is clear from paragraph 3 of Item 41. That additional charges for escort service furnished at government request are based on mileage per escort vehicle.

B-240451, Mar 15, 1991, 91-1 CPD ***

PROCUREMENT - Payment/Discharge - Shipment costs - Overcharge - Payment deductions - Propriety

DIGEST

C.I. Whitten Transfer Company:

C.I. Whitten Transfer Company requests review of the audit action of the General Services Administration (GSA) in assessing overcharges under Government Bill of Lading (GBL) C-7,259,618. This transaction involved a December 27, 1988, movement of explosives from Indiana to California, requiring the use of two tractor-trailer vehicles for which the government requested and received security escort vehicle service. The basis for GSA's action was that Whitten charged for two escort vehicles even though the carrier provided only one.

We sustain GSA's action.

Whitten's Tender 67 contained the charges applicable for this service, and these were governed by Item 41 of the Military Traffic Management Command's (MTMC) Freight Traffic Rules Publication No. 1A (MFTRP 1A), effective July 1, 1987. Paragraph 3 of Item 41 allowed a participating carrier to file within its tender a series of charges for escort service, in dollars and cents "per mile per escort vehicle," at specified distances. Whitten charged $1.75 per mile at all distances, with a $500 minimum.

Whitten interprets Item 41 as allowing for the imposition of this charge on each vehicle escorted. Whitten considers each vehicle escorted to be a separate shipment, and argues that the item permits a carrier to charge for each shipment irrespective of the number of escort vehicles used. GSA, as well as MTMC, maintains that the escort service charge is a mileage charge per escort vehicle used in each GBL shipment, and points out that Whitten used only one escort vehicle.

We find no merit in Whitten's view. We first note that no matter how many vehicles were used to transport these explosives, there is only one shipment involved here. Appendix A of MFTRP 1A defines a shipment as "a quantity of freight tendered ... by one shipper at one point on one day, on one (GBL) for delivery to one consignee at one destination." It is irrelevant that two vehicles were used to transport cargo from the same shipment.

In any event, we think it is clear from paragraph 3 of Item 41, as well as from Whitten's tender, that additional charges for escort service furnished at government request are based on mileage per escort vehicle. Whitten provided one escort vehicle for one shipment, and there is no basis for more than one charge for the use of that same escort vehicle.