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Mr. PIXLEY. We are wholesalers and distribute to the retail business. Our outgoing is larger than our incoming.
The CHAIRMAN. What is your territory!
Mr. Pixley. All over the United States. Anything that will benefit the farmer.
The CHAIRMAN. What do you ship? What is your tonnage a year?
Mr. Pixler. In the neighborhood of 100,000 tons.
The CHAIRMAN. How much of that do you ship by the Great Lakes?
Mr. PIXLEY. Very little outgoing, but our incoming tonnage by the Great Lakes is large.
The CHAIRMAN. That is just one of the things we have been inquiring about. Why is it that you Chicago people do not use the waterway or the water transportation you have?
Mr. Pixley. I injected into this hearing the other day one principal reason, and that is our Pacific coast territory is now being served from New England. That product was formerly brought into Chicago on the Great Lakes and distributed from Chicago. We can do that no longer, because of the Panama Canal's competition.
The CHAIRMAN. Wait a minute. Let us see if that is true. You have a traffic of 100,000 tons a year, and you say that your incoming traffic, a considerable part of it, comes by the Great Lakes, but you do not use the Great Lakes for your outgoing traffic.
Mr. Pixley. Our territory lies to the West and South of Chicago, the territory that we serve the principal territory.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you ship up in Minnesota and Wisconsin?
Mr. PIXLEY. We have not a service there by the Great Lakes that amounts to anything at all.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the trouble?
Mr. PIXI.Ey. There never has been a dependable service, an efficient service, into Wisconsin and other ports there. The rail seryico-would you expect us to ship through the Soo and up into Lake Superior, to the Minnesota points?
The CHAIRMAN. You have the best water in the world, the best inland water in the world?
Mr. PIXLEY. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. And what you say is that you have not provided the transportation facilities?
Mr. PIXLEY. Not to ship to Minnesota from Chicago, no.
The CHAIRMAN. You could ship anywhere; it would not make any difference, if you had the transportation vessels, it would carry you anywhere.
Mr. PIXLEY. We are shipping to Milwaukee and some other Wisconsin points-not a very large volume—by water.
The CHAIRMAN. The thing I am getting at is this. This committee is in favor of the development of waterways, but we can not understand why Chicago, of all the Lake ports, is the only one that
does not seem to utilize its natural advantages on the Great Lakes, and does not seem to increase its water transportation, and what we are asking is this: If you do not use what you have, the best in the world, how can you, by crying for something that will not compare with it in any way, as a transportation facility, hope to convince us that you will use it if we give it to you?
Mr. PIXLEY, I think it is not right to reach any conclusion that we are not taking advantage of the water service that is available at the present time, because we are using it, as you said the other day, to the extent of some three million tons a year.
Mr. Morgan. May I inquire, as a natural business proposition, you would use the cheapest method of transportation ?
Mr. PIXLEY. With adequate service and facilities, yes.
Mr. MORGAN. In other words, you are not prejudiced against waterway transportation by the Lakes?
Mr. PIXLEY. We favor it. It is the solution of all of our trouble. It is the very life blood. We have got to have this; otherwise we would be restricted in our transportation to such an extent that Chicago will go down instead of up.
Mr. MORGAN. Then your contention is that, by reason of the commodities being transported through the Panama Canal, you are thrown out of what you would receive out of ordinary competition.
Mr. PIXLEY. Yes. We must have a waterway. We must have cheaper transportation, because the communities and the people with whom we do business are to-day suffering because of higħ transportation costs.
Mr. MORGAN. Then the question of the chairman, implying that you do not use the water that is available now, does not apply to you as merchants or as business men, so far as the actual facts are concerned relating to the service in the communities in which you serve?
Mr. PIXLEY. No.
The CHAIRMAN. Why is it possible that it does not apply. when the statistics show that it does?
Mr. PIXLEY. We are using that service.
Mr. SWEET. Does any considerable part of the business of your firm or corporation ship goods to the western coast, so that you would come in competition with the Panama Canal service, or do you serve more of a local trade down the Mississippi?
Mr. PIXLEY. We serve the entire United States. Our business moves to all States in the United States. Prior to 1920 we did a very large business on the Pacific coast, and that business was done from Chicago. We are distributors of merchandise. We bring the merchandise in from manufacturing points all over the United States to Chicago and from there we redistribute to our customers. Formerly we did a very large business from Chicago on that broad Pacific coast territory. Since then that business has gradually dwindled away, that is, the business from Chicago. We are still doing business on the Pacific coast, but we are doing it from our mills and from our manufacturing points on the Atlantic seaboard and shipping it
around through the Panama Canal. If we were not in a position to do that, we would lose that business to our eastern competitors entirely.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you factories at Chicago as well as on the Atlantic coast?
Mr. PIXLEY. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Factories of the same kind, that produce the same goods!
Mr. PIXLEY. To some extent; yes.
The CHAIRMAN. But largely your factories are of one kind on the Atlantic and of another kind at Chicago?
Mr. Pixley. We have the largest production of textiles, of course, in New England and in the Southeastern territory.
The CHAIRMAN. So far as that production is concerned, you have been benefited and not harmed by the Panama Canal ?
Mr. PIXLEY. I do not understand how you reach that conclusion. We claim that we have been harmed very seriously, because our competitors in the East are able to sell their products on the Pacific coast.
The CHAIRMAN. They are not competitors in the East? You say your factories are also in the East, and you simply distribute from your factories to the Pacific coast.
Mr. PIXLEY. That is true.
Mr. Sweet. Isn't it a fact that the growing tendency of the jobbing trade is to have the mill or manufacturer or producer carry the stock, and the jobber issues his requisitions on the mill to ship direct to his customers?
Mr. PIXLEY. That is true as far as the jobbing interests in the Millde West are concerned, but it is not true as far as the jobbing interests on the Atlantic seaboard are concerned.
Mr. HULL. Carson, Pirie, Scott & Co. are jobbers to a large extent. You take your orders for different lines of goods from one customer; in other words, you might have textile goods, umbrellas, or something else from the same customer. If you can consolidate all of that in Chicago and ship direct from Chicago, it would materially help your business, would it not?
Mr. PIXLEY. We would get the business then where now our New York jobbing competitor gets that business from us.
Mr. HULL. That is the point I wanted to bring out.
Mr. Pixley. It is possible to ship direct from the mill or manufacturer, but it is an impracticable way to do business.
The CHAIRMAN. In the one case you would sell through your Chicago house, and in the other case, the case as it exists to-day, you have to sell through a jobber?
Mr. PIXLEY. No; we sell through a manufacturer.
Mr. Hull. He is the jobber. In other words, he can not consolidate his shipments.
Mr. Pixley. Let me explain this. The textile industry is one of the largest industries in the wholesale dry goods business. A merchant on the Pacific coast would like to buy his textiles in small quantities. He would like to get a varied assortment. The only way that he can get that is through the local jobber; that is, the jobber at Chicago, at New York, or at San Francisco. He carries
an open stock; he brings this stuff in from the manufacturer in what we call a case quantity in that unit, and splits it up and spreads it into an open stock and then the merchant comes and selects his different patterns, and has them shipped from that shipping point. Now, a New York jobber is still able to give him that service, but we must go into that territory and sell him 50 pieces of a certain assortment arbitrarily formed, or 50 pieces of a certain style, which takes his capacity to use that goods. It is an impracticable way to sell goods, and for that reason that business is largely getting away from us to the jobbing point where they are able to sell him from an open stock in a varied assortment, which is the economical way for him to do business, and a desirable way for him to do it.
As I started to say at the outset, our business is done largely in agricultural communities, who are suffering to-day, and have been suffering for a long time, from high transportation costs. In our opinion this bill will provide cheaper transportation and will for that reason give some prosperity to these farming communities, especially in the West.
The CHAIRMAN. What you appear for is for the transportation end of this bill. You want to see this river made navigable for the depth advocated by Mr. Hull, of 9 feet!
Mr. PIXLEY. We want a waterway from Chicago to the Gulf of Mexico. That is our chief concern.
I am also a resident of the city of Chicago. I own a home there, and I am very much interested in the sanitation features of this bill, because my family and myself would like to keep our health as long as we can, and we know that something of this kind is necessary to preserve our health and our lives.
The CHAIRMAN. You think that some method for the disposal of sewage must be provided out there? Mr. PIXLEY. Yes. The CHAIRMAX. Either by pure water or otherwise? Mr. PIXLEY. I can not go into the technical issues. Mr. O'CONNOR. Leaving aside the all-important hygienic and sanitary features involved in this bill, you would favor it for the commercial possibilities, if they only were involved, would you not? Mr. PIXLEY. Most assuredly.
Mr. SWEET. There are some means of navigation down the canal and river now, are there not?
Mr. PIXLEY. From Chicago! Mr. SWEET. Yes. Mr. PIXLEY. No, sir, Mr. SWEET. None whatever! Mr. PIXLEY. No, sir. Mr. Hull. We have to ship to St. Louis by rail. Mr. PIXLEY. We used to have the old Illinois and Michigan Canal, but the channel is so restricted that the size of the boats and the cargo that can be carried down there is not sufficient to compete with the railroads, and so it was abandoned.
STATEMENT OF MR. RAY WILLIAMS.
The CHAIRMAX. We will now hear from Mr. Ray Williams.
Mr. WILLIAMS. My name is Ray Williams. My business is that of traffic manager. I wanted to say a word with reference to the transportation feature of this bill only.
I am from Cairo, Ill., and represent the city of Cairo, the Cairo Board of Trade, and the Cairo Association of Commerce. We have at the present time operating on the river a barge line from New Orleans to Cairo, which operation is continued throughout the year.
The CHARMAN. Just a moment. This is a private line?
Mr. Williams. The Mississippi Warrior service, the Federal barge line.
The CHAIRMAX. Oh, that is another thing.
Mr. Williams. The traffic which was shown on the map which was presented by Mr. Field is handled through the port of Cairo and there interchanged with the rail lines. We are deeply interested
in this proposition of the Illinois River and the transportation from I the Great Lakes to the Gulf.
The CHAIRMAX. How far is it from Cairo to Grafton?
The CHAIRMAN. And where is Grafton with reference to St. Louis?
Mr. WILLIAMs. It is 36 miles north of St. Louis.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you run at the present time as far as St. Louis?
Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes, sir.
We believe that the improvement of our inland waterways would be of great benefit to the country as a whole, not confining its benefits to the improvement of the valley along the waterway. During the four years that the Federal barge line has been in operation, we have been able to ship to the Pacific coast large quantities of agricultural implements, and vehicle material, for example, and those commodities are laid down at transportation costs materially less than if we had to use the all-rail routes.
The CHAIRMAN. Give us an idea of the quantity of the tonnage you handle a year.
Mr. WILLIAMS. Well, I could not offhand give you the tonnage.
Mr. WILLIAMS. I could not give you the total tonnage as handled by our shippers, but the total tonnage as handled last year would not have any material weight with what we might handle if we had the advantage of this waterway as proposed, and also as proposed in the Newton bills, which come up later on.
The CHAIRMAN. You have not had any shortage of freight, have you? You have had all the freight offered to you that you could transport?
Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes; with the limited transportation facilities by water that we have at the present time.
Mr. MORGAN. What are the products which you transport principally?
Mr. WILLIAMS. We transport grain and forest products, and all kinds of commodities handled by wholesale grocers, wholesale druggists, and dry goods.