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We are of the opinion that the Federal Government should make a very careful survey of the situation confronting the west coast, and in some manner effect relief. As a result of the completion of Bonneville Dam and Grand Coulee Dam with their hydroelectric plants, it is only reasonable to expect a substantial industrial growth in the Northwest within the next few years. It is obvious that no industrial development of great magnitude can take place if adequate water transportation is not available to the area. With ship space at present inadequate to the accommodation of existing industry and with the prospect of the disposal of additional space to foreign interests, it is necessary to make some provision, not only to accommodate existing industry but that in early prospect. Vast sums of Federal funds have been expended on waterway developments in the Northwest as well as in flood control and hydroelectric plants and it would not seem consistent that their value to the area and to the nation as a whole be depreciated through the lack of adequate transportation facilities.
West coast industry is not in a position to compete on east coast markets unless water transportation is available and rail routing of west-bound cargo as the result of inadequate steamship space, cannot but reflect an increased cost to the consuming public. We believe it to be in the public interest that the Federal Government take steps to provide additional space immediately, further moving to guarantee the availabil of adequate space in the future. In addition to the increased cost to west coast consumers of east coast products, inability to ship to east coast markets is reflecting a widespread damage throughout the entire west coast in causing unemployment as the result of curtailed manufacturing and processing operations.
We respectfully submit the above statement in the hope that the association can enlist the consideration of the Maritime Commission in providing adequate relief for shippers on this coast. Very truly yours,
PORT OF VANCOUVER,
INTERNATIONAL LONGSHOREMEN'S & WAREHOUSEMEN'S UNION,
Vancouver, Wash., April 4, 1940. MARITIME COMMISSION OF UNITED STATES,
San Francisco, Calif. GENTLEMEN: The shortage of ships is responsible for a 50-percent reduction in earnings of our members and 20 percent of the men who work out this hall are drawing unemployment insurance from the State. Unless something is done to relieve the situation shortly the shippers will all use the railroads and it will be the end of the American Merchant Marine.
GEO. L. BURNETT, Secretary, Local 1-4, Vancouver, Wash.
APRIL 7, 1940. Mr. MacCOMBER: I have not been in a position to prepare a separate report for Vancouver mill, but am sending you copy of letter stating the joint problem of our Salem and Vancouver mills.
On lumber—we are of course shut down and it would be hard to make a statement of the exact relationship of the steamer scarcity to our particular situation at present. Obviously, however, the sawmill will continue to be shut down if space is not obtainable for lumber cargo.
J. E. NAIL, Sales Manager, Columbia River Paper Co.
APRIL 7, 1940. Mr. Phil THURMOND, Manager, Maritime Commerce Department,
Portland Chamber of Commerce, Portland, Oreg. DEAR MR. THURMOND: We are sorry that it has taken us this long to report to you on the relationship of the current shortage of steamer space intercoastal and coastwise on our particular business. We have, however, been assembling our information and I am having this letter written to you on Sunday so that you will be sure and have it Monday morning.
Our normal requirements—these figures are combined for Columbia River Paper Mills at Vancouver and Oregon Pulp & Paper Co. at Salem-are approximately as follows:
Atlantic coast, 10,000 to 12,000 tons annually; Gulf, 5,000 tons annually; California (including export shipments routed for transhipment at San Francisco, 15,000 tons annually.
Coastwise: We have practically given up trying to avail ourselves of coastwise steamer service south-bound with the result that practically everything we ship to California, either for distribution there or for transhipment to offshore steamers at San Francisco, is being shipped by rail. The rail rates are higher but in the case of this particular business we are able to stand the difference although naturally the total amount of difference between rail and water rates in a year's time is very considerable.
Gulf: The steamer space situation has not been as acute for us on shipments to Gulf ports as it has been for shipments to Atlantic ports. However, we have had to change from water to rail routing a rather considerable tonnage of paper because the business would not stand delays inherent in getting steamer space as conditions have been during the past several months. Furthermore, service has been discontinued to a number of Gulf ports to which we had regularly made shipments in the past, particularly Beaumont and Corpus Christi. We are just barely “getting by" on this Gulf business that we are shipping by rail and it is out of the question for us to attempt to expand our distribution int hat territory. As a matter of fact, due to rising costs of production we do doubt shall have to curtail our distribution to the Gulf territory unless we can count regularly on boat service.
Atlantic coast: It is in the service to Atlantic coast ports that we really have been very badly up against it during recent months. Last September we accepted orders at Salem for approximately 2,000 tons of paper to be moved promptly been very badly up against it during recent months. Last September we accepted orders at Salem for approximately 2,000 tons of paper to be moved promptly. We have been dribbling this along in accordance with what space was obtainable and now, in the first part of April we still have a balance of 250 tons which we have not yet been able to ship. Meanwhile, we have not been in a position to take new business until we could get the old orders cleaned up.
We are informed now that there is no space available to us on any line for the North Atlantic during April and the combined tonnage allotment for both our mills for May will probably not exceed 100 tons per boat (4 sailings) which amounts to less than one-half of what we normally require.
So far we have been able to keep operations on a full-time basis at our Vancouver mill, but we are very apprehensive about the immediate future. We have had to curtail operations at Salem to a limited extent during the past few months strictly on account of lack of shipping space. And although our curtailment so far has not been very serious we are very much afraid that a short time operating schedule will have to be put into effect very soon unless we can have some relief. We have been accumulating paper-storing it in rented warehouse space—in the hope that we could move it out with reasonable dispatch; a hope which does not right now seem to have a very good chance to be fulfilled.
Curtailment of operations, of course, is of very great concern to our own company affairs, but likewise concerns the interests of our employees, and the general business of the communities in which they reside. For example, if our Salem mill is shut down 2 days per week it means a decrease in earnings for some 500 people to the extent of one-third of the weekly pay of each employee.
The officers of our company are really very much alarmed about the steamer space situation as it now shapes up-and are particularly apprehensive about what we are going to be up against during both the near and longer future. Very truly yours,
COLUMBIA RIVER PAPER Co.,
COLUMBIA RIVER PAPER MILLS,
Vancouver, Wash., April 5, 1940. PORT OF VANCOUVER,
Vancouver, Wash. (Attention: T. P. MacComber, Manager.) GENTLEMEN: We are writing you relative to the very serious shortage of cargo space available for the Atlantic coast lumber market. As we are principally a cargo mill, norinally moving about 75 percent of our cut or approximately 2,250,000 feet b. m. per month by water, you can readily see the problem we are facing.
Our rail facilities are such that without incurring a great deal of extra expense, which conditions today do not warrant, we are unable to move more than onethird of our cut in the rail market.
A continuous full-capacity operation of our sawmill, which is possible only when sufficient cargo space is available, results in the employment of 110 men with an annual pay roll of over $140,000.
We feel, therefore, that anything you can do to bring about an increase of cargo space will be inestimable benefit to the community as well as to our firm. Very truly yours,
COLUMBIA RIVER PAPER MILLS,
Vancouver, Wash., April 8, 1940. PORT OF VANCOUVER,
Vancouver, Wash. GENTLEMEN: We would like to have of record our position with respect to the prospective effect upon our operation as the result of the increasing shortage of ship space for coastwise and intercoastal shipping.
We have just completed constructing and equipping a modern tidewater sawmill, contemplating the production of 3,000,000 feet of lumber per month and employing 80 men, which runs into a substantial pay roll. We have been running 30 days and, while we have no past record, it is certainly our intention and desire to keep operating. We do not have railroad trackage to our plant, making it impossible for us to ship lumber by rail into consuming territories, and if the increasing shortage of space for water shipment is not remedied it may be impossible for us to continue operation, which will in effect completely nullify our considerable investment as well as deprive the community of a substantial pay roll.
It is our earnest hope that something can be done to remedy the situation confronting ourselves as well as other shippers, and we are most anxious and willing to contribute any facts and figures or other aid indicated in obtaining the desired end. Yours very truly,
BERT D. CAMPBELL & Co.,
Portland, Oreg., April 5, 1940. Mr. Tom MACOMBER,
Manager, Port of Vancouver, Vancouver, Wash. DEAR SIR: In response to Mr. Pender's inquiry regarding Vancouver loadings and our recent experiences in booking intercoastal space, I submit the following list of space contracts back to July 1939 which represent all of the intercoastal space we have been able to book at all times: July 1939:
Feet (net) Calmar Steamship Corporation..
650, 000 McCormack Steamship Co---
1, 200, 000 American-Hawaiian Steamship Co.--.
125, 000 McCormick Steamship Co.--
125, 000 This list, I think you will agree, tells a complete story in view of the fact that during this entire period I have made every effort to increase these bookings with these two lines as well as all others operating in the intercoastal trade, and explains why I have had so few Vancouver loadings during recent months. This firm operated as an independent wholesaler in the intercoastal trade since 1924, my average shipments for 10 years being more than 2,000,000 feet per month. Yours truly,
BERT D. CAMPBELL & Co.
VANCOUVER PLYWOOD & VENEER Co.,
Vancouver, Wash., April 8, 1940. Mr. T. P. MacCOMBER,
Manager, Port of Vancouver, Vancouver, Wash. DEAR SIR: News of your trip to San Francisco and your attendance at the meeting of the Pacific Coast Association of Port Authorities has prompted us to write you this letter. We understand that you hope in your meetings to effect some way of breaking the stagnation of intercoastal shipping and we hope you will be able to achieve your aims. Below we will give you some information showing how we have been affected by the bad state of affairs in intercoastal shipping, hoping it will assist you in understanding our particular problem as we hope you will be able to assist us in the action you will be able to take at your meetings.
Our intercoastal water shipments have been severely handicapped by the lack of bottoms in that service to carry the increased offerings by shippers and by the diminution of service by the shipping companies themselves. To give you an understanding of how slack the service has been let us present a few facts.
During the past 6 months we have shipped 56 orders to our east coast customers. The average for these orders in the elapsed time between the date of our request for space and the shipment of the order was 85 days. Under normal
conditions we may take from 2 weeks to a month to deliver a boat order to the dock though sometimes we may place a shipment at your terminal within a week if space is readily available. However, if we deduct the maximum of a month from the 85 days' average which it took to get our past 6 months' shipments on a boat that still leaves us with an average delay on all these shipments of nearly 2 months. This figure is only an average and, while the shortest time for one of these orders was 23 days, the longest was 126 days.
The preceding paragraph covers a period during the past 6 months when the shipping companies still had most of their ships under their own operation. At the present the situation is much more acute due to the great numbers of ships which have been taken from the intercoastal run.
To show how serious the present situation is let us present additional facts. We have, this date, 13 orders booked for future boat shipments. The average elapsed time for the orders now booked is 126 days. One hundred twenty-six days is the average for each 1 of these orders from the time we requested space until the time the orders will be shipped. The shortest length of time for any these orders is 62 days and the longest is 143 days.
We are even more alarmed about the orders which we have not been able to book. These amount to a total of 24 orders and their average time for the period in which we have tried to book space for them is 84 days. This figure does not seem bad in comparison with those mentioned in the preceding paragraphs at first glance. If we deduct from these 24 orders the 7 orders which we have received within the past 2 weeks from this letter's date, we have a much worse picture. The average per order would then be 114 days. To this figure you must add another month or two as an optimistic estimate of the time still to elapse before we can hope to get these orders on a boat. A couple of these orders have been on our books already for 6 months. A couple of these orders are for a South Atlantic port which is apparently to be abandoned as a port of discharge.
We have had some business entirely canceled due to the boat situation in addition to endless revision of orders we are still hopefully holding for water shipment. We have within the last few weeks shifted six orders to rail shipment. One customer has abandoned water business entirely and is buying only by rail. We have lost four lots of orders to a competitor mill on Puget Sound which is able to give one of our best customers the water shipment we cannot secure for him from the Columbia River. We have lost one customer entirely who had planned to make all shipments via water, but has now decided not to take on a line of plywood at this time; this was a new jobbing account for the plywood industry and we are sorry that we cannot utilize this outlet for our product.
The above gives you some idea of the state of chaos in which our water shipments have been for the past few months. What the situation will be in the coming months is unimaginable. You will realize, of course, that shipments to the east coast require at least a month. To know what our customers are up against, just add 30 days to all of the above figures. That will give you some idea of the tremendous delays our customers have sustained. As a corollary the loss of goodwill toward water shipment is obvious. We have received our own good share of abuse from justifiably irritated customers; we dislike losing goodwill of customers from this boat space condition whch is completely beyond our control.
Please accept the writer's kind personal regards and the wish that you will be successful in your mission. Very truly yours,
VANCOUVER PLYWOOD & VENEER Co., By J. B. POWER, General Manager.
Portland, Oreg., April 5, 1940. Mr. T. P. MacCOMBER,
Manager, the Port of Vancouver, Vancouver, Wash. DEAR MR. MacCOMBER: In accordance with your request on Tuesday, we will try to outline the seriousness, from the viewpoint of a terminal elevator operator as well as a grain exporter, of the present acute and ever-increasing shortage of ships making the Pacific coast ports a regular port of call.
At the present time the only space available to Europe and the Orient is either on foreign lines, calling regularly at Pacific coast ports, or on tramp steamers which must be taken under charter. The owners of these ships have therefore