Request for Review of Settlement Concerning Transportation of Commodity

B-203639: Dec 30, 1981

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A firm requested review of a settlement action taken in connection with the transportation of graders. The firm was paid its original bill which was based on the released value rates of its tender. A supplemental bill was disallowed because it was based on higher rates. There was no disagreement that graders were shipped and that the tender offered rates on the shipping of graders. However, the firm questioned whether the released value rates in the tender were applicable where there was no declaration of value on the bill of lading. The resolution of that question depended on whether graders were included among the commodities listed, as contended by the firm, or covered generally as contended by the agency. The applicability of the various rates and valuation charges in a tender depends upon the declared or agreed value of the commodity shipped. If the Government failed to show the released valuation, the firm could properly bill at the higher applicable rates; but, for certain commodities unspecified in two sections of the tender, the Government was relieved of the requirement of declaring the value on the bill of lading. The firm contended that the commodity shipped was included within the term tractor. The agency contended that since the article shipped was not covered in the two sections, the tender rates were applicable. GAO found that the commodity at issue was not a tractor, and neither the bill of lading nor other shipping documents contained in the record described the article shipped as a tractor. By definition, tractors and motor graders are clearly identified as two separate articles. Therefore, GAO concluded that the released valuation rates of the tender were applicable, and GAO sustained the agency's audit action.

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