GREG JOHNSON - MANAGING TRAFFIC

GREG JOHNSON - MANAGING TRAFFIC

A TEXAS COURT RULING in Texas' Travis County (see story on this page) means Armstrong World Industries' war with Texas is destined to go on.

This has been going on for six years, said an official at Armstrong's E&B Carpet Mills unit in Dalton, Ga. It was shipments of carpet by E&B from Dalton into a warehouse in Arlington, Texas, that started the fight.The official said the fight caused E&B to cut back the amount of traffic bound for Texas from its Dalton, Ga., mill.

We used to do 3-4 truckloads a week from Dalton into Arlington, he said. Now we're down to about two.

Meanwhile, Armstrong has just filed a 50-page brief in the 5th Circuit in New Orleans. That's where the Texas Railroad Commission has sued the Interstate Commerce Commission after the ICC ruled E&B's shipments were intrastate traffic even though they were temporarily warehoused in Arlington, Texas.

The ruling by the 201st District Court means the matter will continue to stand as does now: in a mess.

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THE JOINT PROPOSAL to refer undercharge claims to the Interstate Commerce

Commission when they involve trucking companies in bankruptcy reorganization is being warmly received in some trucking circles.

As written, the proposal has a very good chance of being endorsed by the members, says Jim Harkins, executive director, Regular Common Carrier Conference. The RCCC is part of the shipper/carrier coalition that forged the proposal.

Kenneth E. Siegel, associate general counsel to the American Trucking Associations, says he hasn't seen much opposition to the proposal.

Mr. Siegel says ATA's leadership is now making plans to put the proposal before the umbrella group's membership. ATA's executive council meets in June, he says.

The proposal was negotiated by the National Industrial Transportation League, Shippers National Freight Claim Council, National Small Shipments Traffic Conference, Drug & Toilet Preparation Traffic Conference and the Regular Common Carrier Conference a few weeks ago.

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ONE NAME WAS CONSPICUOUSLY ABSENT when NITL's press release for the joint proposal was released.

Apparently, the Transportation Brokers Conference of America didn't like the idea of pushing solely for settlement of the undercharge mess and put out its own release.

TBCA supports total deregulation and wanted to go beyond the proposal's mandate referring all undercharge cases to the ICC when they involve carriers that have ceased operations or entered into bankruptcy reorganization.

We think this (proposal) is a great way to help end the emergency with the unfiled rates, a TBCA spokesman says. But it does nothing for the long-term needs for the broker industry such as eliminating the filed rate doctrine.

TBCA is concerned that if the joint proposal is acted on, legislators and carrier interests will feel they have satisfied shipper concerns, leaving the drive towards full trucking deregulation in permanent stall.