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Mr. MATHEWS. That is correct. But there is a market for it in the powerplants. Senator Knowland, I have two statements, one on New Cumberland and one on Hildebrand, from Pittsburgh Consolidated Coal. May they go in at this point?
Senator KNOWLAND. Yes.
Elizabeth, Pa., March , 1954. Hon. WILLIAM KNOWLAND,
Chairman, Subcommittee on Civil Functions, Senate Committee on Appro
priations, Washington, D.. C. DEAR SIR: We wish to express our unqualified support of the proposal to replace present locks and dams Nos. 7, 8, and 9 on the Ohio River with one new lock and dam to be known as the New Cumberland lock and dam.
The condition of the 3 existing structures is so bad that failure of any 1 of them is an ever-present possibility. Failure of any one of them would be a catastrophe. The large steel and power plants on the Ohio River downstream from these dams would be cut off from their major source of coal supply. Considerable coal tonnage also moves upstream from the Huntington, W. Va., district to steel plants in the Pittsburgh, Pa., district. An immense volume of gasoline and oil also is transported by river upstream through these locks to the Pittsburgh area.
Tonnage passing through lock No. 7 in 1952 was 12 million tons, which is 60 percent more than passed through this lock in 1944. Every indication points to an increase over this figure in the near future. It is obvious that failure of any one of these facilities would create a chaotic condition in the procurement by industry of the vital supplies now transported through these locks.
The fear of failure of these facilities is the principal factor influencing this company in stressing the urgency for replacing the existing facilities with the proposed new lock and dam. For this reason we respectfully urge that Congress appropriate the necessary funds to begin immediately the construction of the New Cumberland lock and dam on the Ohio River. Very truly yours,
PITTSBURGH CONSOLIDATION COAL Co.,
River Transportation Manager.
RIVER DIVISION, PITTSBURGH CONSOLIDATION COAL Co.,
Elizabeth, Pa., March 4, 1954. Hon. WILLIAM KNOWLAND, Chairman, Subcommittee on Civil Functions, Senate Committee on Appropriations,
Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: We wish to respectfully urge you and your committee to take favorable action on the request for the appropriation to begin construction of a lock and dam on the upper Monongahela River in West Virginia to be known as the Hildebrand lock and dam.
This cannot be considered a new project. Its construction is required to replace two more of the antiquated, inefficient, and inadequate locks and dams, now over 50 years old and still in use.
The present dams do not provide the 9-foot channel necessary to load barges to their full capacity. Barges can now be loaded only to about two-thirds of their capacity, thereby making transportation costs approximately 50 percent higher than in the lower reaches of the Mononga hela River and other inland rivers. Hildebrand would extend the 9-foot channel and make available cheap transportation for the enormous coal tonnage remaining in the area this section of the river would serve.
We wish to express our support of this proposal and request your favorable consideration of it. Very truly yours,
PITTSBURGH CONSOLIDATION COAL CO.,
Mr. MATHEWS. I would like to call Mr. Lowell French, the executive vice president of the Union Barge Line Corp., at Pittsburgh.
Senator KNOWLAND. I would like to make a statement before the next witness comes on. I have a meeting of the Foreign Relations Committee that I am going to have to go to. I am going to ask Senator Cordon if he will take over and preside for me. I can assure these gentlemen that I will carefully read the testimony that is given here today. I am familiar with the general problem and what the economic conditions in the area are. I am sorry I cannot personally be here for the balance of the hearing.
Mr. MATHEWS. I would like to call Mr. Lowell French, vice president of the Union Barge Line Corp.
STATEMENT OF LOWELL L. FRENCH, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT,
UNION BARGE LINE CORP., PITTSBURGH, PA.
Mr. FRENCH. My statement is a little long. I would like to have it placed into the record.
Senator CORDON (presiding). It will be placed into the record in full.
(The statement referred to follows:) My name is Lowell L. French and I am executive vice president of the Union Barge Line Corp., Pittsburgh, Pa., a certificated common carrier of freight operating on the navigable waterways which comprise the Mississippi River system. The Mississippi River and its many tributaries, including the Ohio River, for a vast network of navigable streams, commonly called the Mississippi River system, which spreads itself throughout the midcontinental area extending from the Appalachian Mountains on the east to the Rocky Mountains on the west and from the Canadian border on the north to the Gulf of Mexico on the south. It serves 31 States and interconnects the more important midwestern industrial and commercial centers such as Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Louisville, Evansville, St. Louis, Kansas City, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Chicago, Memphis, New Orleaus, and many others. In 1952 the barge lines operating on the Mississippi River system performed 37.1 billion cargo ton-miles as against only 5.5 billion cargo ton-miles during 1931, which reflects an increase of almost 600 percent within a 22-year period. Tonnage on this inland waterway system is continuing to mount and year by year barge-line transportation is being more firmly estab lished as an important part of our national transportation system.
At the northeastern tip of the Mississippi River system is the so-called Pittsburgh district, roughly embracing the territory along the Ohio River above its mile point 109 (and including areas adjacent to the navigable portions of the Allegheny and Mononga hela Rivers). Considering only the channels with a minimum depth of 9 feet, the aggregate length of the rivers in the Pittsburgh district is only about 6 percent of the Mississippi River system as a whole. but in the year 1952 they carried approximately 29 percent of the total freight of the entire system.
The Pittsburgh district ranks third in the Nation industrially and its products are of vital importance to the economic welfare of our country and to the national defense. Unquestionably this position of industrial eminence can be attributed largely to the availability and use of low-cost river transportation. The 38.7 million tons of freight which moved on the local rivers in 1952 appears to be ample evidence of what this form of transportation means to our section of the country.
The iron and steel industry-a basic industry serving the Nation's require ments during peace and war-is heavily concentrated in the Pittsburgh district and depends to a considerable extent upon river transportation for the assembly of raw materials and the distribution of finished products. Although economy is one of the principal considerations, the steel companies realize that other methods of freight carriage could not possibly be relied upon to bandle the incredibly large volume of tonnage needed to keep their plants in operation. Manufacturers of other products likewise depend upon the waterways to serve their transportation needs involving the movement of a wide diversity of commodities and materials.
A great amount of traffic moving on the Pittsburgh rivers originates and terminates locally but industry is also benefited otherwise by being able to use river transportation for inbound and outbound interterritorial shipments which aggregate millions of tons annually. Local traffic consists predominantly of coal, coke, sand and gravel, gasoline, oil, limestone, iron and steel articles, and acids, all of which move in large annual tonnage volume. Outbound interterritorial shipments are made up of iron and steel articles of various kinds, sulfate of ammonia, benzol, acids, gasoline and oil, cement, slag, machinery, newly constructed river barges, towboats and other floating equipment, contractors' equipment, etc. Inbound interterritorial movements involve gasoline, lubricating oil, heating oil, iron and steel scrap, sulfur, coal, coke, iron and steel articles of diversified nature, fluorspar, chemicals, acids, and many other things. The volume of interterritorial tonnage is enormous and moves throughout the year without seasonal interruptions.
The Pittsburgh district is served by many private and for-hire barge line transportation companies, including three of the largest common-carrier operators on the inland rivers and also a large contract carrier, all subject to the jurisdiction of the Interstate Commerce Commission. These carriers maintain regularly scheduled sailings to and from the local area, affording shippers frequent and dependable service between all points on the Mississippi River system and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway without transfer or rehandling of the freight en route; in other words, the cargoes move from point of shipment to destination in the same barges into which they were originally loaded. Barges are available for the handling of a wide variety of products; in fact, a suitable type can be provided for the accommodation of practically any kind of commodity. Covered barges are furnished for goods requiring protection from the elements; open barges are used for cargoes not susceptible to weather damage; and tank barges are supplied for bulk-liquid shipments. Supplementing these services are many unregulated for-hire barge line companies operating on irregnlar schedules which handle a considerable amount of traffic to and from this important industrial area.
The foregoing is intended only to emphasize the importance of Pittsburgh district industry to the national economy and the importance of river transportation to that industry's continued survival.
Locks and dams were constructed on each of the district rivers in order to create navigable channels of sufficient depth to accommodate barge transportation and also to impound water to serve other important multipurpose uses. The failure of a single lock and dam structure would seriously disrupt the free flow of traffic with harmful effect on industrial production. Should the failure occur at a lock and dam through which local and interterritorial traffic must pass in significant volume, many of the district major industrial operations would be forced to shut down because of the lack of fuel, supplies, and raw materials. Additionally, the impounded water would probably be released because of the failure, and communities, mills, and factories would suffer severely because of the lack of water supply. The importance of this water supply to industry can well be illustrated by the fact that 1 large steel mill on the Ohio River in the Pittsburgh district normally uses about 360 million gallons per 24-hour day. This could be extremely disastrous at any time, but even more so if the disruption occurred during a period of national emergency.
Ohio River locks and dams Nos. 7, 8, and 9, a short distance downstream from the city of Pittsburgh, which were constructed in the period 1904–14, are not only inadequate and obsolete according to present day navigational requirements (designs are 50 years old) but have deteriorated to such an extent that they cannot be expected to serve many more years without extensive and costly repairs. Lock and dam No. 7 presents more of a problem than do the other 2 structures because here the shore lock wall has moved riverward about 6 inches along its entire length of 600 feet and as a result is now approximately 4 inches out of plumb. Total collapse would cause the lock to be closed to navigation for several weeks and, if the lock-gate recesses were also damaged, it might require a full year to make repairs. The condition of this unit is now so precarious that there is constant danger of failure, especially if it should be struck by a heavy tow of barges or suffer the ill effects of a severe flood. Now it so happens that this
group of locks and dams is on a section of the Ohio River which constitutes the gateway through which all interterritorial traffic moving from and to the industrial heart of the Pittsburgh district must pass and which stretch of river also carries a huge volume of local traffic. Failure of one of these units would para. lyze river traffic, shut off the flow of raw materials and disrupt production at mills and factories and, of course, prevent the forwarding of finished goods to other parts of the country.
As long ago as 1944 the Corps of Engineers of the Department of the Army recognized the need for replacement of locks and dams 7, 8, and 9 but nothing could be accomplished at that time because of the war. However, in 1950 and again in 1952, the Corps of Engineers strongly recommended the complete abandonment of these 3 obsolete facilities and the replacement thereof with a modern lock and dam installation at New Cumberland, W. Va., about 57 miles below Pittsburgh. Not only would the proposed replacement structure at New Cumber. land eliminate the hazards and threats of failure now existing but would also provide navigational improvements which would better serve river transportation now and for a great many years in the future. In addition, and very importantly, there is the question of economy. No doubt it will take millions of dollars to keep the 3 aged and worn-out locks and dams in operating condition during the next 10 or 15 years, money that could be more profitably used in the construction of a single modern facility that before too long will have to be provided anyway. Furthermore, the economy of operating 1 lock and dam in. stead of 3 such units is fairly obvious. For instance, a total of 54 men is needed for the operation of 3 locks and dams whereas only 18 men are required to oper. ate 1. The reduction of 36 men in operating forces, figuring the earnings of each at $5,000 annually, would represent a savings of $9 million over a 50-year period and this amount combined with other operating savings and added to the mil. lions that might have to be spent for the rehabilitation and repair of present structures would go a long way toward paying for the new lock and dam. And then, of course, the benefits accruing to river-transportation operations by reason of navigational improvements should not be overlooked, benefits that would be reflected in lower operating costs and, in turn, make possible lower transportation rates for the public.
The contribution of river transportation to the Nation's peacetime economy is well recognized, but it is likewise of invaluable benefit in periods of national emergency. During World War II hundreds of naval and other deep-sea military craft were constructed at shipyards on the Ohio River above lock and dam No. 7 and floated to the Gulf of Mexico via the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. A disruption which would have prevented the passage of those vessels would have been a serious blow to the war effort.
With the cost of running the Federal Government being such as it is today, we heartily subscribe to a program of economy wherever and whenever possible. However, we believe it is false economy to withhold the expenditure of money needed to keep in safe and efficient operating condition those improved rivers and facilities which have already been provided and contribute so greatly to the public welfare. If the inland waterway system is to serve its purpose, channels must be maintained, obstructions removed, navigation aids provided, and obsolete and inadequate lock and dam structures replaced. Private industry could not afford to keep spending money on worn-out facilities when replacement and modernization are the inevitable and proper solutions from the standpoint of good business practice.
The United States engineers have stated that the construction of the New Cumberland lock and dam would require about 442 years. Consequently, if construction were to be started this year it would not be completed and available for operation before 1959 at the earliest. Meantime, we would be hopeful that the three old locks and dams could be kept in serviceable condition pending completion of the new facility.
We have been informed that the cost of the replacement facility would be approximately $46 million which is indeed a lot of money but only one severe disruption in river traffic within the Pittsburgh area and the resultant stoppage of industrial production could easily cause losses amounting to as much or more than the entire cost of the new project.
We respectfully urge that your committee favorably consider making funds available immediately in order that this important project may be started promptly.
Mr. FRENCH. My statement deals generally with the Pittsburgh district to the national economy and touches upon these facilities we are seeking. The Mississippi River and its tributaries including the Ohio River make up what is commonly called the Mississippi system of navigable waterways. That system serves, either borders or penetrates, 31 States, and within those States there are over 61 million people depending to some extent and to a large extent upon river transportation.
The waterway, the Mississippi River system, in 1952, carried 37 billion tons of freight as against
Senator CORDON. How much?
Mr. FRENCH. Thirty-seven billion ton-miles of freight, I am sorry, as against five and a half billion ton-miles in 1931.
That is an increase of almost 600 percent in a 22-year period. In other words, I say this just to emphasize that the system is an important part of the national transportation system. At the northeastern tip of this waterway, along the Ohio River, is the Pittsburgh district, considering only the 9-foot channels, some of the streams have not been improved beyond 6 feet, the Pittsburgh district rivers in length aggregate only 6 percent of the total system mileage, but it handled in 1952, 29 percent of their freight, that is, on the tonnage basis. In other words, the Pittsburgh district in 1952 handled 38.7 million tons verus 132 million tons for the entire system.
Senator CORDON. When you say "handled," do you mean that the freight was within that district?
Mr. FRENCH. That is correct. The Pittsburgh district ranks third in the Nation industrially. Its products are of vital importance to the country's economic welfare as the national defense. This industrial stand is largely due to the availability of river transportation. Here is iron and steel industry is heavily concentrated and depends considerably upon river transportation for assembly of raw materials and the distribution of its finished products. Economy, of course, is one of the real reasons why they use the river, but no other method of freight carriage could possibly be relied upon to handle this increased volume of tonnage and keep industry going.
That has been emphasized by the previous speaker. River traffic moving within the district is of both a local and interterritorial nature, generally consisting of raw materials inbound and the finished products outbound. The district is served by three of the largest common carriers on the inland river and also a large contract carrier, all of whom are subject to the jurisdiction of the Interstate Commerce Commission. In addition to that, there are many unregulated carriers serving that area. Therefore, frequent and dependable service between all points on the Mississippi River is available without a transfer or rehandling of shipments en route. In other words, a barge leaves Pittsburgh and goes directly to Houston, or Minneapolis, or Chicago, or Memphis, or Chattanooga on the Tennessee or Nashville on the Cumberland. The foregoing was simply intended to emphasize the importance of the Pittsburgh district to the national economy and