Improved Service to the Small Shipper Is Needed

CED-77-14: Published: Dec 22, 1976. Publicly Released: Dec 22, 1976.

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The dilemma of handling small shipments continues as a perplexing problem to all concerned. The Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) is required by law to ensure that regulated truckers provide adequate, reasonably priced service to all shippers. Truckers believe that the revenue from small shipments, less than a truck load, has not equalled their cost and, therefore, tend to assign their equipment to the more profitable larger shipments. As a result, shippers of small quantities of freight, particularly those who only ship occasionally and those located in remote areas, sometimes suffer inadequate or untimely service.

Data which shows that ICC reduced the number and severity of complaints from 8,300 in 1968 to an average of 3,700 annually since 1972 is unreliable, since the smaller shippers, who are likely to experience most of the service problems, are unfamiliar with ICC and change to another trucker rather than report service problems.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: ICC should collect more reliable data on complaints, emphasize the formal investigation of small-shipment complaints as the basis for ICC action, and determine whether authority to impose civil penalties would help combat the problems.

    Agency Affected:


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