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this form, however, it is necessary for them to go thru the necessary steps to determine the rates applicable on the shipment. When the form is complete, it is returned to the departmental accountant, who compares it with the freight bill rendered, and, if any discrepancy exists, notes the amount due the firm, and passes the paid freight bill and the form to the overcharge claim investigator for presentation and collection of claim.

Some concerns have printed forms similar to that shown in Fig. 23, on which the weight, rate, and freight are indicated as they appear and as they should appear. Such forms may be affixed to the freight bill and returned to the carrier for correction. This enables the agent to locate the error readily and to make the necessary adjustment in his account and to render a new bill on the proper basis. Other concerns simply resort to pencil memorandums or red-ink corrections.

This sums up the more important work of the employees in the rate division. Subsequent chapters will show other fields for the employment of the men in this division.

In this chapter, the major operations of the rate divisions have been treated from the multiman point of view. In a one-man department, the work should be planned to afford the single worker, to some degree at least, the intelligent supervision that is afforded the industrial traffic man under the departmental system. Many of the forms mentioned in this chapter and the lines of suggested procedure prove adaptable equally to the one-man and multiman types of departments.

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Time Limitations-Tracing Shipments: The Tracer; The
Carrier's Procedure; Proper Marking; Promiscuous Trac-
ing; Filing the Tracers; Index System; Carload Tracing-
Claims: Prevention; Adequate Containers; Classification
of Claims; Federal Regulations; Fraudulent Claims; Dis-
honest Practices; Fair Play—The Overcharge Investigator:
Qualifications; Waste in Unnecessary Correspondence-
The Loss and Damage Investigator: Qualifications-Claim
Forms—Numerical Assignment–Three Classes of Claims
-Resurrection of Declined Issues—Interest an Element of
Damage-Filing Devices—Claim Accounting: Book Rec-
ords; Plan of Index-Vocational Training.


In the matter of loss and damage claims, close supervision of the correspondence concerning undelivered shipments is particularly necessary to avoid the possibility of a legitimate claim being outlawed under the time limitations incorporated in the uniform bill of lading and similar contracts of affreightment.

The clause in the uniform bill of lading reads as follows:

Except where the loss, damage, or injury complained of is due to delay or damage while being loaded or unloaded, or damaged in transit by carelessness or negligence, as conditions precedent to recovery, claims must be made in writing to the originating or delivering carrier within six months after delivery of property (or in case of export traffic, within nine months after delivery at port of export), or in the case of failure to make delivery, then within six months (or nine months in the case of export traffic), after a reasonable time for delivery has elapsed; and suits for loss, damage, or delay, shall be instituted only within two years and one day after delivery of the property, or in case of failure to make delivery, then within two years and one day after a reasonable time for delivery has elapsed.

This limitation is defended on the grounds that it affords the carriers an opportunity to review the transaction while the matter is fresh in the minds of the parties concerned with the handling of the shipment. It has been sustained by the various courts, and where the conditions are not observed, many a valid and otherwise sound claim is outlawed, and the shippers can receive no redress.


It is well to maintain the tracing division of an industrial traffic organization as a subsidiary of the claim division. Many of the shipments that the industry is called upon to trace are unlocated, and finally become questions of loss or damage. The accumulated correspondence following the tracing of the shipment can be transferred to the claim record and formal claim made when the proper time arrives.

The Tracer

The word “tracer" is the name which is applied to communications addressed to the carriers, signifying the nondelivery to the consignee of a shipment which has been previously intrusted to the carriers' custody, and requesting that they take up the matter with their connections at the intermediate transfer point or with the junction agent in an endeavor to locate the shipment or the missing part thereof, and hurry it on to its destination.

A representative form of tracer is illustrated in Fig. 24.

The Carrier's Procedure

On receipt of the tracer, the railroad agent delegates an employee to refer to the outbound railroad billing, or waybill, as the document is styled, covering shipment for that particular day and to locate the particular waybill on which the shipment in question has been entered. He then fills out a form addressed to the agent on whom the billing was made with a request that he show delivery to the consignee. Copies are sometimes sent to intermediate junction agents.

Not infrequently, the agent at destination is unable to show delivery because the property was loaded in the wrong car. Consequently, the matter must be referred to the freight claim agent to discover whether or not the particular shipment is reported as "over,” or "on hand," at any other point on the line, or in any other cars from the line that were sent to connections.

Promiscuous Tracing

The increased demand of shippers for tracers has become a serious burden to the railroads. It is practically impossible, even with an increased force of clerks, to supply all the information asked for in connection with shipments in transit.

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