ICC v. Inland Waterways Corp.,
319 U.S. 671 (1943)

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U.S. Supreme Court

ICC v. Inland Waterways Corp., 319 U.S. 671 (1943)

Interstate Commerce Commission v. Inland Waterways Corp.

No. 175

Argued January 11, 12, 1943

Decided June 14, 1943

319 U.S. 671


Proportional rates on reshipments from Chicago to eastern destinations of grain coming from distant points Northwest on through shipment with transit privileges and arriving at Chicago by rail or by lake steamer, became applicable by reason of tariff wordings to grain coming from points close to Chicago arriving by barge over the Illinois Waterways route which was established after the tariffs were adopted. The railroads filed tariff amendments which would deny to the ex-barge grain the privilege of moving eastward on the proportional rates, and remit it to the higher local rates which grain entering Chicago by truck or from local origins by rail was obliged to pay.


1. That an order by the Interstate Commerce Commission in a proceeding under § 15(7) of the Interstate Commerce Act which relieved the proposed tariff amendments from suspension, as not "unlawful," but which did not prevent future adjustments on specific complaint of the rates on the ex-barge traffic, was a determination within the administrative competency of the Commission with which the District Court should not have interfered. P. 319 U. S. 685.

2. Proportional rates differing from each other according to the origin of the commodity may be fixed lower than local rates, and may apply to outbound movements after stopover in transit. P. 319 U. S. 684.

3. Since the Commission refused to approve or prescribe the rates here in controversy, they stand only as carrier-made rates, and are subject to possible recovery of reparations. P. 319 U. S. 686.

4. To perpetuate the existing rate structure by sustaining the District Court's injunction would favor the ex-barge grain over grain

Page 319 U. S. 672

moving east from Chicago on local rates, thereby entailing violations of § 4(1) of the Act as it stood before and after amendment by the Transportation Act of 1940. P. 319 U. S. 687.

5. Nothing in the Transportation Act of 1940 warrants holding that the ex-barge grain (mostly corn), merely because it moved over a comparatively slight distance by water, must as a matter of law be given the benefit of proportionals fixed with reference to grain (mostly wheat) from the Northwest, including points in Canada and as far west in the United States as Washington and the Dakotas. P. 319 U. S. 687.

6. Sec. 15(7) of the Interstate Commerce Act, providing that, after suspension of a carrier-proposed rate, the Commission "may make such order with reference thereto as would be proper in a proceeding initiated after it had become effective" did not oblige the Commission, in the circumstances of this case, to continue the suspension proceedings and establish special proportionals for the barge lines under § 6(1) of the Act. P. 319 U. S. 689.

7. The function of this Court does not permit it to prescribe or approve rates, and the decision in this case carries no implication of approval of any rates here involved; nor can the Court prescribe general attitudes the Commission must adopt towards the exercise of discretion left to it, rather than to the courts, by the Act of Congress. P. 319 U. S. 691.

44 F.Supp. 368 reversed.

Appeal from a decree of the District Court of three judges enjoining the enforcement of an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission. The bill was filed by the Inland Waterways Corporation. Other parties, including the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Secretary of Agriculture, were allowed to intervene as plaintiffs or defendants. The Attorney General, for reasons explained in the opinion, infra (p. 319 U. S. 683), did not participate.

Page 319 U. S. 673

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