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the trade so that they may take advantage of the lower rate.
Qualifications The significance of this title in this instance is the broad type of employee who has acquired, thru experience or other technical training, a comprehensive insight into rate-making methods, existing rate structures, classification principles, classification procedure before classification committees and rate associations, and a comprehensive knowledge of the Act to Regulate Commerce.
He should be acquainted with the rulings of the Interstate Commerce Commission bearing on transportation charges and schedules. Above all, he should have the ability to see thru a tariff and not necessarily be convinced of the finality or legality of a statement or rule so long as there is a remote possibility of discrimination in its application.
His time, for the most part, should be occupied in the study of new schedules and supplements to existing publications as they are received. The object of this study is to develop such reductions in rates as are applicable on the firm's traffic, and to defer shipments, when possible, in the event of reductions in rates, so that the firm and its patronage may avail themselves of the saving in transportation costs. Concerning advances, he should determine the propriety of such advance, and see that existing contracts or contemplated purchases are adjusted with respect to the increased transportation charges.
He should also be a court of last resort for the quotation clerk and loss and damage investigator in the matter of intricate rate problems that may confront them from time to time.
In the preparation of graphs, tariff citations, and other essential grounds of proof in rate cases, he is a potent factor in the efficiency of the department, especially in those instances where discriminatory practices or charges of the carrier are brought to public utility commissions for review.
Another valuable service that may be rendered by this employee is the preparation of a map or chart indicating in outline the several states of the Union, the location of competing houses, and the corresponding rates of freight to selected destinations thruout the country. Especially in lines where the margin of profit is small, either a readjustment of rates or a reduction in the selling price must offset any competitor's advantage.
The following record will prove advantageous to the quotation clerk, the loss and damage investigator, and the rate clerk. In a card index, the states are arranged alphabetically, and under each state are given the towns to which rates have been quoted, preferably those which occasioned considerable difficulty and loss of time in the construction of the rates. The opportunity for needless repetition will be considerably minimized if the factors are entered on a card and filed in the index for subsequent reference.
For example, a request for a rate to some point on the Island of Carmen in the Gulf of California would be indexed under Mexico in the alphabetical list of states and contiguous countries. In its proper alphabetical space under Mexico, and on a card set aside for the Island of Carmen, the necessary factors entering into the construction of the rates to that point would be set forth. In the first instance, it may have required a considerable amount of research in communication with transportation companies to develop the fact that the rate was made by using the overland rates to Guaymas, plus a local schooner tariff beyond, but repeated requests for rates to the same destination could be readily handled.
The auditing of freight bills and the handling of overcharge claims, while ultimately falling in the claim division of the department, are primarily rate matters, since the determination of whether there is an overcharge or not is contingent on the rate existing at the time the shipment was made.
The rather superficial audit of transportation charges which is performed by traffic department employees of both carriers and shippers is a source of wonder to a progressive traffic man, and can be explained only by the assumption that those concerned with the work are not alive to its importance.
Whether the transaction be analyzed from a tissue copy of the original waybill, as is the case in railway circles, or from the paid freight bill, as in industrial traffic work, certain steps are necessary, and follow in regular order.
Where possible, the freight bill should be supplemented by the original bill of lading or a copy of it, as the bill of lading often contains essential data which is not incorporated in the billing of the carriers, or on the freight bill rendered the consignee, or shipper, for payment of charges.
The bill of lading file of the traffic department should contain a copy of all bills of lading which have been executed for outbound shipments and the original bill of lading covering all inbound shipments, and the expense bills should be passed to the clerk in charge in order that this document may be attached to the respective bills.
It has been stated that there are fifteen opportunities on the average freight bill for errors to be made which will effect the amount of charges paid.
1. Frequently shipments are rebilled at one or
more junction points en route, and a great deal of difficulty is experienced by industrial concerns in identifying the shipment as to the point whence it was made. Often the absence of this information on the billing makes it necessary for the railroad revision clerk to set the charges up to the rate applying from the rebilling point, when properly only a proportion of the thru rate should be assessed therefrom.
2. Not infrequently there are two or more towns
of the same name in the same state, and therefore the county in which the shipping point is located becomes an essential factor, since one of the towns may take the New York rate, for example, and the other may take a Boston rate,
and the rates from or to these groups may vary
as applied to points of origin or destination. 3. The date of the shipment shown in connection
with the original waybill number is then to be considered. But it should be borne in mind that if the shipment is delivered a day or so prior to the issuance of the bill of lading, or if the shipment is held several days before the waybill is made, as is frequently done, the date of delivery, and not the date of this waybill, controls as to the rate to apply. For example, if a shipment was delivered on February 28, and the billing was not issued until March 3, and if on March 2, an advanced rate became effective, the shipper is entitled to the rate that was in
effect on February 28. 4. The original car number in which the property
was loaded at shipping point is a prime consideration, since, on many commodities, the minimum weight on which the charges may be based is contingent on the size of the car. ordered. If a car of the size ordered cannot be furnished by the carrier and a smaller or larger one is furnished for the carrier's convenience, the bill of lading and charges should be computed on the basis of the size of car ordered, provided the shipment could have been so loaded.
Frequently the original car loaded may develop a defect which necessitates the transfer of its contents to some other car en route. In a great many cases where larger equipment is so used, the minimum weight will be increased by uninformed agents to that of the size car in which