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MEMPHIS, TENN., April 29, 1940. Hon. ScHUYLER Otis BLAND, Chairman, Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries,
House of Representatives. Please be referred my wire April 24 relative to H. J. Res. 509. I now quote for your information the following preamble and resolution which was unanimously adopted at the convention of the Americ n Cotton Shippers Association in New Orleans, April 26 and 27.
“The question of adequate shipping space is becoming more and more serious with the spread of war to Scandinavia. The officers of this association have already urged the Maritime Commission to put its reserve fleet into operation by sale of the ships to private operators. Either foreign or domestic.
A bill is now pending removing certain legal restrictions upon the sale of such vessels and we believe this association should go on record asking for its passage. The following resolution is offered by the committee: 'Resolved: That American Cotton Shippers Association favors the adoption of legislation necessary to place into service of American export commerce vessels in the reserve fleet built and retained for that purpose. and calls the attention of Congress and the Maritime Commission to the increasing difficulties faced in obtaining necessary shipping space for American cotton and other products to beliigerent countries; to the world- ide increase in rates, and to the probability that lack of adequate shipping space may operate to restrict exports of American cotton this next season.
R. C. DICKERSON, Secretary American Cotton Shippers Association.
LOS ANGELES, CALIF., April 23, 1940. Honorable Chairman BLAND,
House Merchant Marine Committee, Washington, D. C.: We urge suspension of section 510 (g), Merchant Marine Act, 1936, in order to relieve present intercoastal steamer shortage. As large shippers of sulfur from Gulf points to California, we vitally interested in placing additional steamers in the service, as present facilities inadequate to meet our Pacific Coast demands on intercoastal movements.
NEW YORK ASSOCIATION OF DEALERS IN PAPER MILLS' SUPPLIES, INC.,
Brooklyn, N. Y., April 25, 1940. Hon. SCHUYLER OTIS BLAND,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: I have noticed from an article in the press today, that the House Merchant Marine Committee of which you are chairman, are considering the advisability of permitting over-age vessels in the Maritime Commission's laid-up fleet to return to operation.
I also notice that you are considering this matter favorably, and that you have also given permission to Mr. Edgar F. Luckenbach of the Luckenbach Steamship Lines, to file a brief in opposition.
Our association, which represents a large number of shippers of merchandise to the west coast, wishes to take issue with Mr. Luckenbach in any objections that he has to you allowing these vessels to go back into service.
The reason for our objection is due to the fact that the Luckenbach Steamship Lines in particular, and other intercoastal lines, have not been able to give us space in their vessels for the past few months, and we have been forced to ship merchandise by rail to the west coast.
In view of the fact that the present operating lines do not have sufficient space to take care of the present traffic, we do not understand what objection the Luckenbach Steamship Line can have to any favorable action you may take toward bringing these vessels back into service.
We hope that you will take this matter into consideration before deciding definitely on what steps you are to take. Thanking you in advance for your cooperation, we remain, Yours very truly,
JULIUS LEVINE, President, New York Association of Dealers in Paper Mills' Supplies, Inc.
POULTRY PRODUCERS OF CENTRAL CALIFORNIA,
San Francisco, April 22, 1940. To the Honorable Members of the House Merchant Marine and Fisheries:
GENTLEMEN : Due to the present European situation, American vessels now operating in the intercoastal trade are rapidly being sold at prices which operators cannot overlook, or, are being chartered in off-shore trades which provide far more lucrative returns than is possible in the intercoastal trade.
All agree that the intercoastal trade is definitely jeopardized and that the assistance of the United States Government is necessary if the intercoastal trade is not to disappear entirely.
Having this in mind, Pacific coast industries, organizations, and individuals have approached the United States Maritime Commission in an effort to induce them to release its laid-up fleet, consisting of approximately 100 vessels, for operation in the intercoastal trade to replace ships that have been sold or chartered.
The Maritime Commission has very definitely stated that it is powerless to release this fleet as the existing Merchant Marine Act will not permit these vessels to be sold or chartered. It is necessary, therefore, thta the law be amended if relief is to be had.
To accomplish this, a joint resolution was presented to your honorable body on April 9, 1940, by Congressman Frank H. Buck (identified as H. Res. 509 and S. 246).
We understand that Chairman Bland of the House Marine Committee is holding a public hearing on this question on April 24, 1940. As we are unable to attend the hearing, we are writing to you urging your support of the resolution.
Our association is an agricultural cooperative serving 5,500 poultrymen located in central and northern California. We do an annual business of approximately $16,000,000 in volume, market approximately 1,000,000 cases of eggs and manufacture over 200,000 tons of animal and poultry feed for our members and others.
It is necessary for us to secure yellow corn and soybean meal from the territory adjacent to the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers owing to the drought conditions existing in Nebraska and the Dakotas. Our procurement costs of grain and feedstuffs are high which accounts for an unfavorable egg and feed ratio such as now exists.
As our intercoastal and Gulf coast water routes are not available owing to a lack of ships, we are forced to pay higher freight rates on corn and soybean meal.
We earnestly request that you support the resolution presented by Congressman Frank H. Buck as all of us on the Pacific coast are vitally concerned. Respectfully yours,
POULTRY PRODUCERS OF CENTRAL CALIFORNIA,
Traffic Manager, Feed Department.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF., April 23, 1940. Congressman SCHUYLER O. BLAND,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C.:
H. A. CADDOW,
THE CHAIN STORE TRAFFIC LEAGUE,
New York, N. Y., April 22, 1940.
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C.
Joint Resolution 509, referred to your committee, calls for a temporary suspension of section 510 of the Merchant Marine Act during present conditions whereby some of the hundred vessels now laid up can be made available for domestic commercial use.
This fleet of obsolescent vessels probably has had no value up to now except as scrap, and under present conditions, as a war economy, they probably have a few years of useful life left.
It seems to be an essential move at this time to make use of this laid-up fleet when so many ships in coast wise trade or intercoastal trade have been diverted to foreign service, and we respectfully urge prompt action by your committee to secure favorable decision by Congress as quickly as possible.
There is a definite shortage of steamer space in the intercoastal and coastwise trades, including Hawaii and Puerto Rico, under which our commerce has been developed, and it is necessary that these trade routes be kept running. In September 1939 there were 135 ships in intercoastal trade, while in April 1939 there were only 86. The operation of this la:d-up fleet in intercoastal or coastwise service will not entail any question of Government subsidy, and the expense of reconditioning will be taken care of by the private interests who will operate the steamers. We shall appreciate your prompt reply. Yours truly,
THE CHAIR STORE TRAFFIC LEAGUE,
JOHN W. TAYLOR PACKING CO., INC.,
Hallwood, Va., April 19, 1949. Hon. S. OTIS BLAND,
Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: During the past few months numerous ships have left the intercoastal trade seeking more lucrative routes for their vessels. A glance at the following table will give you an insight into what is transpiring in the intercoastal trade today.
Ships in Atlantic-Pacific intercoastal general cargo trade (excluding tankers)
Number Dead weight Number Dead weight Number Dead weight
Due to this severe shortage of space in the intercoastal trade today, we have had difficulty in securing space for our shipments. We understand, however, that several of the intercoastal carriers are desirous of purchasing from the Maritime Commission some of the 100 vessels which are now tied up, and which the Maritime Commission cannot release due to an amendment in the Shipping Act of 1936, by the Congress of 1939. This is paragraph (g), section 510, of the act.
To relieve the present situation a joint resolution, No. 509, was introduced in Congress last week by Congressman Buck, and in the Senate, Senate Resolution No. 246 was introduced by Senator Johnson. The purpose of this resolution is to suspend for the duration of the European war paragraph (g), section 510, of the amended Shipping Act.
Passage of the joint resolution will do much to relieve the present intercoastal shipping situation. We ask, therefore, that you give your support to the above resolutions and oblige. Very truly yours,
JOHN W. TAYLOR PACKING CO., INC.
CONDENSER SERVICE & ENGINEERING CO., INC.
Hoboken, N. J., March 21, 1940
SUBJECT: FLEET OF OLD SHIPPING BOARD LAID-UP VESSELS
All of us, unquestionably, wish to do the thing that is best for our country. It is believed that serious consideration should be given at this time to the disposing of our old laid-up ships.
These ships were built and put in commission between 1918 and 1920. These ships are far from being economical to operate, as compared with the vessels now being built. We could sell these approximately 100 vessels on the present market and obtain sufficient funds to build 28 to 30 new C-1 modern type vessels.
In addition, it could be stipulated that these vessels be repaired in this country for sea-going service. The repairs on these vessels would run approximately ten millions dollars.
Some people may say that they are holding these vessels for an emergency ; it is doubtful if any marine man or naval man would say this is advisable, in view of the fact that we now have under construction approximately 120 new modern vessels, of which about 25 percent have been delivered, and in an emergency the remaining number of ships could be delivered in 9 months to 14 months. We also have shipyards in existence that have been developed, through the Naval program and the Maritime Commission program, in which we can build ships at a rate approximately equal to the rate which we were building ships in 1919; after losing the time from 1917 to get shipyards organized to build vessels rapidly.
In conclusion, there seems no logical reason or basis for keeping these old vessels in lay-up, involving a cost of maintenance, gradual deterioration of the ships themselves, and the additional consideration that each year makes it more and more out of the question to consider their use. If any private organization, under the same comparable circumstances, had this group of 100 vessels, based on the present sale and market price, they would, without doubt, dispose of them promptly and immediately, providing funds to build new modern up-to-date vessels. Very truly yours,
CONDENSER SERVICE & ENGINEERING CO., INC.
BRIDGEPORT BRASS Co.,
BRIDGEPORT, CONN., April 23, 1940. Mr. SCHUYLER OTIS BLAND, Chairman, House Committee, Merchant Marine and Fisheries,
Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: We would like to be recorded with your committee as favoring the passage of H. J. Resolution 509, hearings on which we understand will take place tomorrow, April 24.
This resolution suspending section 510 (g) of the Merchant Marine Act, 1936, for the period of the present European war, would unquestionably be extremely helpful to the shippers and receivers of freight on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts as there is a very great shortage of bottoms in this trade. Public moneys are tied up in the vessels mentioned, and it seems that they should be released for the use of the shipping public.
We trust that this resolution may be favorably acted upon and that it will receive the approval of the Congress. Very truly yours,
BRIDGEPORT BRASS Co.
NORRIS STAMPING AND MANUFACTURING Co.,
Los Angeles, Calif., April 22, 1940. Subject: House Resolution 509. Hon. SCHUYLER OTIS BLAND, House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee,
House Office Building, Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: We respectfully request your support of House Resolution 509, amending section 510 of the Merchant Marine Act, 1936, so as to permit the release by the United States Maritime Commission of its laid-up fleet, consisting of approximately 100 vessels, for operation in the intercoastal trade to replace the ships that have been sold or chartered for use elsewhere.
Some action which will result in immediately increasing the number of ships for intercoastal service is imperative if business on the Pacific coast is not to suffer a major set-back. A large amount of Pacific coast business, particularly manufacturing, is dependent entirely upon the use of intercoastal steamship service without which it would be impossible for Pacific coast manufacturers to compete. In our case a substantial amount of business with the United States Government has been developed because of the reasonable transportation costs by water, and in view of the fact that space is no longer available on the steamers, this business will be lost unless additional boats are put into service immediately. Yours very truly,
NORRIS STAMPING AND MANUFACTURING CO.,
K. T. NORRIS, President. P. S.-We believe that any bill authorizing the release of the laid-up fleet should provide that the ships could be used for intercoastal service only and could not be resold or chartered for foreign service.
NORRIS STAMPING AND MANUFACTURING Co.
THE ARTHUR H. CLARK Co.,
Glendale, Calif., April 22, 1940. Regarding House Resolution 509 and Senate 246: Hon. SCHUYLER O. BLAND, United States Congressman from Virginia,
Washington, D. C. HONORABLE AND DEAR MR. BLAND: We are encountering delays in the shipment and receipt of goods shipped on intercoastal vessels. The excuse given for delays or refusal by the ship companies is that they are short of vessels to carry the large volume of intercoastal trade, owing to many of the vessels being sold at high prices.
If this is true and the United States has a laid-up fleet of approximately 100 vessels, might it not be wise to release some of these vessels for the intercoastal trade?
There may be some good reason why these vessels are held, perhaps for an emergency or for the transportation of troops. In any event if such be the case, could not their use for intercoastal trade be granted under the existing shortage, with the privilege of the United States Government taking them over at any time that an emergency arises?
We on the Pacific coast depend to a very large extent on this water transportation. Yours respectfully,
THE ARTHUR H. CLARK Co.
MISSION DRY CORPORATION,
Los Angeles, Calif., April 22, 1940. The Honorable SCHUYLER OTIS BLAND,
Chairman, House Merchant Marine, Washington, D. C. DEAR CONGRESSMAN: We earnestly urge your support of House Resolution No. 509, and Senate No. 246.
This joint resolution, intended to suspend section No. 510 (g) of the Merchant Marine Act, 1936, during the present European conflict, is of vital importance to shippers because the Government restrictions of the use of vessels in the laid-up fleet; altogether with the continual sale of vessels operating in the intercoastal trade is rapidly tearing down our intercoastal trade structure.
We realize the Maritime Commission is powerless to release the laid-up fleet, as the existing Merchant Marine Act will not permit these vessels to be sold or chartered, and, therefore, since the purpose of the joint resolution is to amend the law so that relief can be had, we desire to place ourselves on record as requesting your favorable and immediate enactment of the Buck resolution. Yours very truly,
MISSION DRY CORPORATION,