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The Geographical Plan

Under this plan the approximate geographical location of various destinations or sources of supply are indicated with relation to the shipping point.

In Diagram A of Fig. 40, Jackson, Miss., has been selected as the shipping point, and representative points in the vicinity thereof selected. Direct routes are indicated by straight lines, and the actual rate applying from that point on a given class of traffic may be indicated by the use of large circles; or the key reference plan may be used whereby, instead of inserting the rate within the destination or point of origin circle, a single number is inserted as a key, and a corresponding table appearing in connection with the map shows the rate attaching to the different key numbers. In Diagram A, the key number 1 is shown at Hattiesburg, and the table appearing in the right-hand corner indicates that a rate of $1.00 per ton applies on the commodity considered.

The Distance Plan

Many of the outline maps are drawn to scale. That is, one inch or a fraction of an inch is the equivalent of so many miles, and by the use of a compass adjusted with respect to this scale, a series of concentric circles may be drawn with the shipping point as the center, as in Diagram B of Fig. 40.

The advantage of this plan is that it establishes definitely the relative relationship as concerns the distance of destinations falling within a certain radius of the shipping point. When the rate to these points is inserted in the graph, the rates within a given zone

should bear some relationship to the rates to other points in the same zone, bearing in mind that in the overlap of rate association territories, rates in one association may be on a somewhat higher scale than those in the other associations. As an illustration, the rates from Chicago to the East are on a much lower general basis than the rates from Chicago to the West.

The Zone Plan

Under this plan, a unit cost of distribution is taken as the measure to indicate the respective zones, preferably on a per net ton basis, ranging from fifty cents to five dollars or more per ton. The limit in all directions that transportation can be procured for a given sum is indicated on the map, as illustrated in Diagram C of Fig. 40. A survey will determine first the lowest figure of distribution, and then the next higher unit, etc. The result is often surprising to those who have never employed the plan in their shipping. In many cases, it will be shown that the industry can ship a much greater distance in one direction via a certain route than it can in other directions or via other routes.

The Route Plan

Generally speaking, if the initial line out of a given point is the terminal line at destination, and if it is the short line between such points or not considerably in excess of the distance applying via the combination of lines effecting the short route, the rates via that line will be the lowest between such points.

As illustrated in Diagram D of Fig. 40, a shipper

at A has the alternative choice of three routes in shipping to F. He may, for example, ship via a single line, Route One, via D. He may ship via Route One in connection with Route Two, via B, or he may employ Route Three, via I. A summary of the effective transportation cost via each route, however, might develop that Routę Two carried the lowest charge, and other considerations being equal, there should be no reason why he should not patronize the route carrying the lower rate.


These charts visualize the existing rate adjustments applied to the traffic so treated, and bring out those inconsistencies which must then be analyzed to determine whether the discrepancy is a discrimination and an unjust and unreasonable rate within the purview of the Act to Regulate Commerce. In the event correspondence with the carriers does not lead to an amicable adjustment of such discriminations, the case should then be brought before the Interstate Commerce Commission for review.

Special Services

The mere fact that in many cases the rate via a given route is less than the rate via some other route is not in and of itself conclusive that this represents the lowest net rate to the industry.

In the case of Diagram D of Fig. 40, it might so happen that the rate from A to F via B would be the least attractive of the three available routes, owing to the fact that on Route One, or on Route Three, a stop-over or some other transit privilege might be in

effect which would offset the advantage of the cheapest rate.

For example, in the case of a steel industry, it might so happen that at I there were facilities for fabricating iron or steel in transit, whereby structural iron or steel could be shipped from A to I to be fabricated and then reshipped to F at the thru rate applying from A to F. Or, in the case of a live-stock shipper, it might be that at I where there is a primary stock market, and that under the reconsigning privileges, he would be allowed to stop his stock at that point to test the market and, if he did not sell, to reship to F.

Thus it will be seen that not only must rates be analyzed, but the special privileges or accessorial services rendered by the carrier on given lines of traffic must also be considered.


Quite frequently the initial line, if it be the terminal line at destination, or if, with its connection, it forms a thru route to a given destination, may not be in a position to afford the consignee as advantageous a location for delivery as some lines via which a higher rate might prevail.

The receivers of freight in Chicago might insist on Illinois Central Railroad delivery at some public team track which could not be effected unless the Illinois Central Railroad was given a road haul, or, if effected, it would be at a considerable added expense to the consignee. The expense of switching the car from the initial line to the Illinois Central, if they would accept it at all, would offset any saving which might be made thru the selection of the lower rated route.

In such cases, good judgment must be used in routing the shipment in order to insure to the customer not only the lowest rate but the most convenient delivery.


Continuous lines or routes operating thru train service should be selected in preference to those lines or routes wherein numerous transfers are involved. Each transfer multiplies the opportunity for damage to the goods and the likelihood of their reaching the purchaser in an unsatisfactory condition. Such possibilities are not conducive to the best interest of trade development.


The packing requirements established in connection with commodity rates and in the case of class rates as affected by interstate and state classifications should be carefully considered in order that they be made uniform, and, if not, the goods so prepared for shipment as to avoid unnecessary delay and added expense in effecting the distribution.

A story is told about a trunk that was shipped via a route over which there was no thru rate applicable, and as a consequence the shipment was governed by three different classifications. The first classification provided that the trunk might be shipped when strapped and sealed, a requirement with which the shipper complied. On arrival at the first junction point, the second carrier required the trunk to be crated before it would forward it. This was done at some expense and

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