American Trucking Associations, Inc. v. Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company

PETITIONER: American Trucking Associations, Inc.
RESPONDENT: Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company
LOCATION: Hayden Residence

DOCKET NO.: 57
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1965-1967)
LOWER COURT:

CITATION: 387 US 397 (1967)
ARGUED: Apr 13, 1967 / Apr 17, 1967
DECIDED: May 29, 1967

Facts of the case

Question

Media for American Trucking Associations, Inc. v. Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 17, 1967 in American Trucking Associations, Inc. v. Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 13, 1967 in American Trucking Associations, Inc. v. Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company

Earl Warren:

Number 59, National Automobile Transporters Association of Detroit, Michigan, Appellant, versus the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway Company et al., and Number 60, United States et al., Appellants, versus the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway Company et al.

Mr. Ginnane.

Robert W. Ginnane:

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court.

I'm appearing on behalf of the United States and the Interstate Commerce Commission and I am sharing the argument with Mr. Sigmon who is counsel for the Motor Carrier Associations in the case.

These are consolidated appeals from that part of judgment of a three-judge court in the Northern District of Illinois which held unlawful two rules prescribed by the Interstate Commerce Commission with respect to trailer-on-flatcar service, often referred to as piggyback.

The rules involved are printed at pages 74 up to 75 of the Government's brief.

Rule 1, in effect, defines TOFC service or piggyback as the transportation of truck trailers and railroad flatcars.

Rules 2 and 3 are the rules which were declared unlawful by the court below.

Rule 2 entitled available -- availability to all TOFC service provides that TOFC service, if offered by a rail carrier through it's open-tariff publications, shall be made available to any person at a charge no greater and no less than that receives of any person or persons were doing for him or them, a like and contemporaneous service for the transportation of a like kind of traffic under similar circumstances and conditions.

The second rule, Rule 3 provides and accepts as otherwise prohibited by these rules motor common and contract carriers, water common and contract carriers, and freight forwarders may use TOFC service for all or any part of their authorized service.

For convenience, all the parties argued this case as though it involves only the utilization of real piggyback services by motor carriers.

Thus, in our brief, we stated the questions as to whether Commission acted within its authority in ruling that railroads which offered piggyback services to the shipping public must offer it on the same terms to motor carriers.

And secondly, that subject to a certain restrictions, motor carriers are entitled to use rail piggyback service in the performance of their own authorized services.

For a brief background as a generality, large quantities of freight can be moved for long distances, most cheaply by rail.

However, for the many shippers and consignees not located on rail tracks, traditional rail transportation has limitations.

It involves loading the freight on a truck, transfer it to the railhead, unloading into a railroad car and the reverse procedure at the other end of the rail movement.

The characteristic flexibility of the motor carrier is the ability to pick up freight at a shipper's door and transfer it in a single movement to the door of a consignee.

And so during recent years, both for hire motor carriers and private motor carriers, that is shippers owning their own motor vehicles, came to comprise a large and growing segment of intercity transportation.

TOFC service or piggyback combines the flexible door-to-door service of the motor carrier, motor vehicle with the line haul efficiency of the railroad or stated in a recently published study by the Commission of Bureau of Economics, piggyback combines the advantages of movement by truck with the long haul economies of rail under conditions which hold total expense to a minimum.

Now, no one suggest that piggyback is always more efficient than all rail or all motor transportation.

But no party in this case disputes, however, that this is so for many movements involving relatively long hauls.

Piggyback service has had a dramatic development from a mere trickle in 1954.

By 1965, the railroads had moved -- were moving in that year 1,430,000 trailers in piggyback service.

And that produced rail gross revenues of $384 million or 4.3% of total rail gross revenues.

TOFC or piggyback service has been performed -- is being performed under five basic arrangements which are in popular industry usage called Plans I, II, III, IV, and V.

Under Plan I, the shipper's property is carried in a motor carrier's trailer at motor carrier rates and on the motor carrier's bill of lading with the motor carrier making an arrangement with the railroad to substitute rail movement, piggyback rail movement for part of the long -- all are part of the long haul trip.

Plan -- under Plan II, the railroad offers its own trailers to shippers for a door-to-door service using piggyback for the line haul movement.

Potter Stewart:

Who operates the trucks that haul those trailers under Plan II?

Robert W. Ginnane:

For those other railroad's trucks operated by its personnel or it can -- or it can hire a local hauler to do it.

Potter Stewart:

But by contracts?