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   Chapter 20 TRANSPORTATION

Up To Date Business By Various Characters: 3715

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03


The most common effect of cheapened transportation is to increase the distance at which it is possible for producer and consumer to deal with each other. To the producer it offers a wider market and to the consumer a more varied source of supply. On the whole, cheapened transportation is more uniformly beneficial to the consumer; its temporary advantage to the producer very often leads to overproduction. It has the effect also of bringing about nearly uniform prices the world over.

The time was when nearness to market was of the greatest possible advantage. At the present time a farmer can raise his celery in Michigan or his beets in Dakota and market them in New York City about as easily as though he lived on Long Island. It is no longer location which determines the business to be carried on in a particular place, but natural advantages more or less independent of location. But the railroad or the steamboat very often determines where a new business shall be developed. It is this quickening and cheapening of transportation that has given such stimulus in the present day to the growth of large cities. It enables them to draw cheap food from a far larger territory, and it causes business to locate where the widest selling connection is to be had, rather than where the goods or raw materials are most easily procured. It is the quick and comfortable transportation facilities which our large cities possess that have given strength to the great shopping centres. Shoppers for thirty or forty miles around can easily reach these centres, and the result is that trade gathers in centres rather than at local points. A city of a million population in the most productive agricultural section of country could not be fed if the food had to reach the city by teaming. With this growth of trade centres comes the increased gain of large deal

ers at the expense of the small; with it comes organised speculation and its attendant results, good and evil.

Prior to the completion of the organisation of trunk or through lines, freight was compelled to break bulk and suffer trans-shipment at the end of each line, where a new corporation took up the traffic and carried it beyond. To prevent this breaking of bulk and to expedite the carriage of freight, fast freight lines on separate capitalisation were organised. The purpose of the interstate-commerce law is largely to prevent discrimination and corruption in freight charges, to secure for every person and place just and equal treatment at the hands of the transportation companies. The freight rates are arranged and regulated by the traffic associations, and the various conditions and compromises necessary have made both classifications and rates about as complicated as anything possibly could be.

The name differential as applied to freight rates refers to the differences which are made by railroad companies. Certain roads are by agreement allowed to charge a lower rate than others running to the same points. To and from each of the eastern cities there are two classes of roads-the standard lines and the differential lines. The standard lines have the advantage of more direct connections; the differential lines reach the freight destinations by circuitous routes, in some instances by almost double the mileage. With a view to equalising these conditions the general traffic associations allow the differential lines to carry freight at a lower rate per mile than the rate charged by the standard lines.

The transportation business of the United States is so varied and complicated that a proper study of its freight tariffs and classifications would require much more space than can be given the subject in these lessons.

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