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Alabama Great Southern R. Co. v. United States, 340 U.S. 216 (1951)

Alabama Great Southern R. Co. v. United States

No. 45

Argued November 8-9, 1950

Decided January 2, 1951*

340 U.S. 216


An order of the Interstate Commerce Commission, issued pursuant to § 307(d) of the Transportation Act of 1940, 49 U.S.C. § 907(d), required certain common carriers by railroad and certain interstate barge lines to establish joint through routes for the transportation of property, and to establish and apply to such through routes joint rates based on prescribed differentials from higher all-rail rates. The differentials were absorbed by the barge lines, but the Commission made no finding that barge-rail costs were lower than all-rail costs.

Held: the order of the Commission is sustained. Pp. 340 U. S. 218-229.

1. A finding of lesser cost of barge service is not indispensable to the validity of the Commission's order. Pp. 340 U. S. 223-225.

(a) The barge-rail rates based on the prescribed differentials were considered by the Commission to be compensatory with respect to the barge lines. P. 340 U. S. 224.

(b) The judgment of the Commission that competition between barge and rail service was worth preserving was legitimately rested on relevant factors other than lesser cost of service. Pp. 340 U. S. 224-225.

2. The Commission's determination that its order is in accordance with general expressions of congressional policy is not the sole basis of the order, since the Commission gave careful consideration to other relevant factors. Pp. 340 U. S. 225-226.

3. The prescription of differentials in this proceeding does not deprive the appellant railroads of their inherent advantages contrary to the National Transportation Policy. ICC v. Mechling, 330 U. S. 567, distinguished. Pp. 340 U. S. 226-227.

Page 340 U. S. 217

4. The basic findings essential to the statutory validity of the order are sufficiently disclosed in the written report of the Commission in this case. Pp. 340 U. S. 227-228.

5. The order of the Commission is not invalid as giving a preference to the port of New Orleans over certain ports of Georgia and Texas, in violation of Art. I, § 9, cl. 6 of the Federal Constitution, since that clause does not forbid discriminations as between ports, and since whatever preference there is results from geography, and not from any action of the Commission. Pp. 340 U. S. 228-229.

88 F.Supp. 982, affirmed.

In a suit to enjoin the enforcement of an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission, the District Court of three judges denied the injunction and dismissed the complaint. 88 F.Supp. 982. On direct appeals to this Court, affirmed, p. 340 U. S. 229.

Page 340 U. S. 218

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