Matter of: Childress Company, Inc. File: B-248420 Date: July 30, 1992

B-248420: Jul 30, 1992

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

A carrier is not entitled to payment for preparing its barges in anticipation of the award of a contract to transport jet fuels which never was effected (the requirement was canceled). MTMC notified Childress' barge broker by telephone that Childress was the low bidder for the movement and that DFR-S would contact Childress when it was ready for Childress to pick up the fuel. Under standard procedures the carrier is advised not to incur preparation costs until a contract award is confirmed by the Defense Fuel Supply Center (DFSC) DFR-S did not contact Childress and instruct it to ship the fuel. At 2:30 p.m. the same day the transportation officer at DFR-S notified MTMC that the requirement was canceled.

Matter of: Childress Company, Inc. File: B-248420 Date: July 30, 1992

A carrier is not entitled to payment for preparing its barges in anticipation of the award of a contract to transport jet fuels which never was effected (the requirement was canceled), where the agency never asked that the barges be prepared; the carrier did not confirm the anticipated award with the responsible agency official; and the government received no benefit from the carrier's action.

DECISION

Childress Company, Inc., claims approximately $14,000 in barge and equipment preparation costs in anticipation of transporting a shipment of jet fuel for the government; the government canceled its request for services after the company incurred these costs. The transportation officer at the Defense Fuel Region, South (DFR-S), Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), denied the claim. We agree with DLA's action.

The Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC) advises that an February 10, 1989, DFR-S asked MTMC to solicit tenders for a single shipment of jet fuel to be made on February 22-23, 1989, from Corpus Christi, Texas, to Lynn Haven, Florida, under the terms of a Government Bill of Lading (GBL). At approximately 11 a.m. on Friday, February 17, MTMC notified Childress' barge broker by telephone that Childress was the low bidder for the movement and that DFR-S would contact Childress when it was ready for Childress to pick up the fuel. According to MTMC, under standard procedures the carrier is advised not to incur preparation costs until a contract award is confirmed by the Defense Fuel Supply Center (DFSC)

DFR-S did not contact Childress and instruct it to ship the fuel. Rather, at 2:30 p.m. the same day the transportation officer at DFR-S notified MTMC that the requirement was canceled, and a MTMC official informed Childress' broker on Tuesday, February 21, that the move was canceled. (Monday was a national holiday.)

Childress offers no rebuttal to this version of the events. However, the company has provided a copy of a message sent from its broker to MTMC on the afternoon of February 17 in which he states, among other things, that "it is understood that the DFSC will prepare a contract and forward it to us for transmittal to the owner for execution."

Childress does not maintain that it was told to begin preparation for the shipment immediately, nor does the firm even dispute that it was told not to incur costs pending DFSC confirmation of the award. Childress also does not contend that the advice it received about the bidding results was conveyed by the government transportation officer, who ultimately is responsible for preparing a shipment, tendering it to the carrier, and preparing the GBL. See Starflight, Inc., B-215301, Jan. 22, 1985, 85-1 CPD Para. 74. In fact, the record does not indicate any confirming communication between Childress and DFR-S prior to incurring the expenses despite the recognition by Childress' broker that DFSC had to prepare a contract. Id.; Murray Mintz Films, B-189266, March 29, 1978, 78-1 CPD Para. 240 (discussing the elements of estoppel against the government).

Finally, since the government received no benefit from Childress' action the expenses may not be paid under the equitable theories of quantum meruit or quantum valebant (the reasonable value of the services and goods, respectively). See Murray Mintz Films, supra; Harry L. Lowe & Associates, B-178307, Feb. 25, 1974, 74-1 CPD Para. 96.

In sum, there is no basis on which to pay Childress' claim.