B-70059, APRIL 7, 1948, 27 COMP. GEN. 601

B-70059: Apr 7, 1948

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WHICH WAS SHIPPED FOR THE NAVY DEPARTMENT BY THE MT. SF AND NV RR. " THE BILL OF LADING INDICATED THAT THE SHIPMENT WAS LOADED BY THE MT. THE RECORD SHOWS THAT TWO OTHER SHIPMENTS OF COTTON PIECE GOODS WERE SUPPOSED TO HAVE BEEN LOADED IN CAR B AND O 371073. THIS CAR WAS TENDERED BY THE SHIPPER TO THE SOUTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY WHICH ACCEPTED IT ON AUGUST 14. APPARENTLY IT WAS MOVED BY THAT CARRIER TO JOHN SEVIER TRANSFER. THE CAR WAS FOUND TO CONTAIN TWO SHIPMENTS DESTINED TO BROOKLYN. THE SOUTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY'S AGENT AT KNOXVILLE REPORTED ALSO THAT THE SHIPMENTS FOR MARE ISLAND AND FOR BREMERTON "ACTUALLY MOVED IN MKT 95434 VIA THE COASTLINE AND WERE NOT HANDLED BY THE SOUTHERN RAILWAY.'.

B-70059, APRIL 7, 1948, 27 COMP. GEN. 601

TRANSPORTATION - ROUTES - LESS-THAN-CARLOAD SHIPMENT MISROUTED DUE TO SHIPPER'S ERROR IN BILL OF LADING INASMUCH AS AN INITIAL CARRIER HAS THE DUTY OF ASCERTAINING IN RELATION TO A LESS-THAN-CARLOAD SHIPMENT, OR TO A CAR CONTAINING MORE THAN A SINGLE SHIPMENT, THE CORRECTNESS OF THE FACTS SHOWN ON A BILL OF LADING PREPARED BY A SHIPPER, CHARGES OVER AND ABOVE THOSE OTHERWISE APPLICABLE, RESULTING FROM THE FORWARDING OF A CAR TO OTHER THAN ITS PROPER DESTINATION IN RELIANCE UPON A BILL OF LADING PREPARED BY THE SHIPPER WHICH GAVE A WRONG CAR REFERENCE, MAY NOT BE PAID.

ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO THE SOUTHERN PACIFIC COMPANY, APRIL 7, 1948:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN YOUR REQUEST FOR REVIEW OF THE SETTLEMENT, PER CERTIFICATE NO. 273418 1/2, FEBRUARY 5, 1946, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR $166.79 AS A PART OF THE CHARGES ASSERTED TO BE DUE FOR TRANSPORTING A SHIPMENT OF COTTON PIECE GOODS, WEIGHING 12,326 POUNDS, FROM COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA, TO MARE ISLAND, CALIFORNIA, WHICH WAS SHIPPED FOR THE NAVY DEPARTMENT BY THE MT. VERNON WOODBERRY MILLS, INCORPORATED, UNDER BILL OF LADING NO. N-697920, AUGUST 14, 1941, WITH DIRECTIONS THAT THE SHIPMENT BE TRANSPORTED VIA " SOU. RWY., STLSW RWY., M AND A RWY., KCS Y., CRI AND P RWY., D AND RGW RR., SFCO., AND SF AND NV RR. " THE BILL OF LADING INDICATED THAT THE SHIPMENT WAS LOADED BY THE MT. VERNON WOODBERRY MILLS INTO CAR B AND O 371073.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT TWO OTHER SHIPMENTS OF COTTON PIECE GOODS WERE SUPPOSED TO HAVE BEEN LOADED IN CAR B AND O 371073, ONE, CONSISTING OF 78 ROLLS, FOR THE SUPPLY OFFICER AT THE PUGET SOUND NAVY YARD, BREMERTON, WASHINGTON, AND THE OTHER, CONSISTING OF 36 ROLLS, FOR THE SUPPLY OFFICER AT THE MARE ISLAND NAVY YARD. THIS CAR WAS TENDERED BY THE SHIPPER TO THE SOUTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY WHICH ACCEPTED IT ON AUGUST 14, 1941, AND APPARENTLY IT WAS MOVED BY THAT CARRIER TO JOHN SEVIER TRANSFER, KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE, WITHOUT FIRST MAKING AN INSPECTION OF THE CAR'S CONTENTS AT COLUMBIA. IN ANY EVENT, UPON ARRIVAL AT KNOXVILLE, THE CAR WAS FOUND TO CONTAIN TWO SHIPMENTS DESTINED TO BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, AND NONE FOR MARE ISLAND OR BREMERTON. AFTER APPROPRIATE INVESTIGATION WITH THE AGENT OF THE SOUTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY AT COLUMBIA, THE AGENT AT KNOXVILLE FORWARDED THE TWO SHIPMENTS DESTINED TO BROOKLYN,"ON MEMORANDUM WAYBILL TO SOUTHERN--- PINNERS POINT, VA.'

THE SOUTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY'S AGENT AT KNOXVILLE REPORTED ALSO THAT THE SHIPMENTS FOR MARE ISLAND AND FOR BREMERTON "ACTUALLY MOVED IN MKT 95434 VIA THE COASTLINE AND WERE NOT HANDLED BY THE SOUTHERN RAILWAY.' THAT REPORT IS CONSISTENT WITH YOUR STATEMENT THAT THE SUBJECT SHIPMENT WAS MOVED FROM COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA,"VIA ACL TO NORFOLK.' ACCORDING TO YOUR REQUEST FOR REVIEW THE MOVEMENT BEYOND NORFOLK WAS VIA THE EASTERN STEAMSHIP LINE TO NEW YORK, AND "THENCE NYC TO CHICAGO, C AND NW-OMAHA, UP -OGDEN, THENCE SP DUE TO MISHANDLING BY THE SHIPPERS.' ACCORDINGLY, YOU AGAIN REQUEST THE PAYMENT OF $166.79, AND CONTEND THAT THE CARRIERS ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ERROR MADE BY THE SHIPPER IN LOADING THE SUBJECT SHIPMENT INTO CAR M-K-T 95434, INSTEAD OF LOADING IT INTO CAR B AND O 371073 AS INDICATED ON BILL OF LADING NO. N-697920.

THUS, THE DESIGNATED BILL OF LADING WAS EXECUTED BY THE SOUTHERN RAILWAY TO SHOW RECEIPT OF THE SUBJECT SHIPMENT BY THAT CARRIER AT COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA, IN CAR B AND O 371073, ON AUGUST 14, 1941, BUT THE RECORD INDICATES SAID SHIPMENT, TOGETHER WITH ONE OTHER SHIPMENT FOR MARE ISLAND AND ONE SHIPMENT FOR BREMERTON, WASHINGTON, LIKEWISE SUPPOSED TO HAVE BEEN LOADED IN THAT CAR, WERE, IN FACT, LOADED IN CAR M-K-T 95434, WHICH WAS TENDERED TO THE ATLANTIC COAST LINE RAILROAD, SUPPOSEDLY CONTAINING THE TWO SHIPMENTS FOR BROOKLYN, NEW YORK. IT IS EVIDENT FROM THE DEVELOPMENTS THUS INDICATED THAT NEITHER CAR WAS EXAMINED AT COLUMBIA BY THE RESPECTIVE CARRIERS. ON THE CONTRARY, AND APPARENTLY IN RELIANCE UPON THE INFORMATION APPEARING IN THE RESPECTIVE BILLS OF LADING, THE SOUTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY MOVED CAR B AND O 371073 TO KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE, BEFORE EXAMINING ITS CONTENTS, AND THE ATLANTIC COAST LINE RAILROAD MOVED CAR M-K -T 95434 TO NORFOLK, VIRGINIA, BEFORE ITS CONTENTS WERE EXAMINED. HOWEVER, THE SOUTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY, UPON DISCOVERING ITS POSSESSION OF THE TWO SHIPMENTS FOR BROOKLYN, INVESTIGATED THE MATTER AND FORWARDED SAID SHIPMENTS TO PINNERS POINT, VIRGINIA, ON MEMORANDUM WAYBILLS, THUS PLACING THEM IN THE LINE OF ROUTE FROM COLUMBIA TO BROOKLYN. ON THE OTHER HAND, THE RECORD DOES NOT SHOW WHAT ACTION IN THE WAY OF INVESTIGATION WAS TAKEN BY THE ATLANTIC COAST LINE RAILROAD, AT NORFOLK, UPON DISCOVERING THE WEST COAST SHIPMENTS IN ITS POSSESSION, AND NO EXPLANATION IS MADE OF WHY THE SUBJECT SHIPMENT WAS NOT FORWARDED ON A MEMORANDUM WAYBILL TO THE NEAREST POINT IN THE ROUTE SPECIFIED ON THE COVERING BILL OF LADING AS WAS DONE BY THE SOUTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY WITH RESPECT TO THE BROOKLYN SHIPMENTS. THE CONTRARY, IT APPEARS FROM YOUR STATEMENT THAT THE SHIPMENT WAS FORWARDED TO NEW YORK VIA THE EASTERN STEAMSHIP LINE AND THENCE VIA CONNECTING LINES TO MARE ISLAND, WHICH HAD THE EFFECT OF INCREASING THE CHARGES OVER THOSE WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN ASSESSABLE HAD THE SHIPMENT BEEN HANDLED AS ASTRAY FREIGHT, OR IF IT HAD BEEN SENT FROM NORFOLK TO MARE ISLAND VIA A DIRECT ROUTE OVER WHICH THE RATE FROM COLUMBIA TO MARE ISLAND APPLIED.

MOREOVER, IT IS APPARENT FROM WHAT HAS BEEN STATED ABOVE THAT THE SUBJECT SHIPMENT WAS HANDLED FROM THE SHIPPER'S PLANT IN TRAP-CAR SERVICE AS EVIDENCED BY THE FACT THAT EACH OF THE CARS HERE INVOLVED CONTAINED MORE THAN ONE SHIPMENT. SWIFT AND COMPANY V. AKRON, CANTON AND YOUNGSTOWN RAILWAY COMPANY, 167 I.C.C. 355, 361, NOTE 4. THEREFORE, WHILE THE SHIPPER MAY HAVE PREPARED THE SUBJECT BILL OF LADING AND INDICATED THE SHIPMENT AS HAVING BEEN LOADED IN CAR B AND O 371073, THAT FACT DID NOT JUSTIFY THE SOUTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY IN FORWARDING SAID CAR TO KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE, BEFORE EXAMINING ITS CONTENTS. HAD THE LADING OF EITHER OF THESE CARS BEEN CHECKED BY THE RESPECTIVE CARRIERS AT COLUMBIA, NO DOUBT ALL SHIPMENTS FOUND IN THE CARS WOULD HAVE BEEN SENT TO THEIR RESPECTIVE DESTINATIONS OVER PROPER ROUTES.

IT IS TO BE OBSERVED THAT WHILE BILLS OF LADINGS MAY BE PREPARED BY SHIPPERS, UNDER THE LAW THE DUTY OF ISSUING APPROPRIATE BILLS OF LADING TO COVER SHIPMENTS TENDERED FOR TRANSPORTATION RESTS WITH THE CARRIERS, AND THE FACT THAT IT IS NOT UNCOMMON FOR SHIPPERS TO PREPARE BILLS OF LADING FOR EXECUTION BY THE CARRIER DOES NOT RELIEVE THE CARRIER OF THE DUTY TO ISSUE PROPER BILLS OF LADING AFTER ASCERTAINING FOR ITSELF THE FACTS NECESSARY THERETO. EXPOSITION COTTON MILLS V. SOUTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY, 234 I.C.C. 441, 442. THIS REQUIREMENT OF THE LAW SEEMS CLEARLY TO IMPOSE UPON THE INITIAL CARRIER THE DUTY OF ASCERTAINING IN RELATION TO A LESS- THAN-CARLOAD SHIPMENT, OR TO A CAR CONTAINING MORE THAN A SINGLE SHIPMENT, THE CORRECTNESS OF A CAR NUMBER SHOWN ON A BILL OF LADING PREPARED BY A SHIPPER, PARTICULARLY, WHEN, AS HERE, THE SHIPPER HAS NO CONTROL OR DIRECTION OVER THE MOVEMENT OF THE CAR USED BY THE CARRIERS TO TRANSPORT SUCH SHIPMENTS, EVEN THOUGH--- AS IN THE PRESENT INSTANCE--- THE SHIPPER EXERCISES THE RIGHT GIVEN BY LAW TO DESIGNATE THE ROUTE OVER WHICH A LESS- THAN-CARLOAD SHIPMENT IS TO BE MOVED.

ACCORDINGLY, IT APPEARING FROM THE PRESENT RECORD THAT THE ATLANTIC COAST LINE RAILROAD IN THE EXERCISE OF ITS DISCRETION FROM THE SHIPPER FORWARDED CAR M-K-T 95434 TO NORFOLK, VIRGINIA, AND THEN ROUTED THE SHIPMENT HERE CONCERNED BEYOND NORFOLK, VIA THE EASTERN STEAMSHIP LINE AND ITS CONNECTIONS, RESULTING IN CHARGES OVER AND ABOVE THOSE OTHERWISE APPLICABLE HAD THE SHIPMENT BEEN HANDLED PROPERLY AFTER ITS RECEIPT AT COLUMBIA, OR, AFTER ITS ARRIVAL AT NORFOLK, THERE IS NO BASIS FOR A MODIFICATION OF THE ABOVE-CITED SETTLEMENT, WHICH IS HEREBY SUSTAINED.