Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



Our analysis of the California cases has shown that public policy must not only balance the interests of one class of shipper, which can save money by private trucking, against those of another class, which must bear the brunt of higher freight rates. When the low-cost shipper and the high-cost shipper are both the same shipper, the objective of low-cost transportation in the public interest is less well defined. From the shipper's position, of course, it is entirely sensible to achieve the economies of his cream traffic with proprietary trans-port while, at the same time, appearing before public authority to oppose freight rate increases on the remainder, but the long-run merit of this approach is more doubtful. It cannot have the same appeal to those who have the responsibility of representing the public interest.

The public interest in low-cost transportation extends to the society as a whole, within which there are high-cost and low-cost shippers. Minimum rate policy designed to protect and preserve common carriers is in a position essentially similar to the shipper who finds that a means of saving money upon part of his traffic served to raise the cost of carrying the rest of it. In the long run the transportation bill of the society may be minimized through strong public policies for the benefit of common carriers. However, the California experience indicates that rate regulation directed to this end will be effective only to the extent that it recognizes cost differences among carrier traffic and adjusts rate levels in the same proportion.