United States. Inland Waterways Commission.

Preliminary report of the Inland Waterways Commission. Message from the President transmitting a preliminary report online

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of $1.90 per diem. Their salaries for the year ending January 31, 1907,
amounted to S2,352.20, and this was the entire amount expended
by the city for the maintenance of the wharves during that year,
although the receipts for the same period amounted to $15,182.24.
The balance appears to have been turned into the general fund of
the city, although under the terms of the deed of the Penn heirs
to the city of Pittsburg the city is not authorized to charge more
than enough to maintain the wharves.

oThe ordinance of December 17, 1887, Ordinances of Pittsburg, 1897, second
edition, p. 500.


The wharfage charges, as set forth in an ordinance of the city
approved February 4, 1882, are as follows:

For each and every time any boat, barge, or vessel shall land for the purpose of load-
ing or unloading, said boat, barge, or vessel shall pay as follows:

Passenger or freight boats making monthly or semimonthly trips for each boat of —

200 tons measurement per trip . . $4

200 to 300 tons measurement do 5

300 to 400 tons measurement do 6

400 to 500 tons measm^ement do 7

500 tons and upward do 8

Vessels not to remain at the wharf more than seventy-two hours, exclusive of Sun-
days, and for each succeeding seventy-two hours or fraction thereof said boats to be
charged at the rate of $1 less than this rate in each case.

For each and every boat making weekly trips and not remaining at the wharf more
than twenty-four hours, $2.50 per trip.

For each and every boat making three trips per week, $4 per week.

Towboats of 130 tons and upwards, not remaining at the wharf longer than ten days,
2 cents per ton measurement per trip.

Harbor boats, $16.67 per year. Small tugboats, $10 per year.

Model barges, $6.25 per trip; keel or brick boats, $5 per trip, and not to remain at
the landing more than five days.

Flat boats containing glass-house sand, wood, etc., $2 per trip.

River sand and gravel flats, 25 cents per day.

Empty barges, keel boats, or fiats at that part of the wharf allotted for loading and
unloading, $1 per day.

For unloading coal flats, $1.25, coal barges, $2, coal boats, $3 per trip each.

Produce, hay, and other flats, $2.50 per trip each.

Round and hewed logs, $2.50 per 1,000 running measure, and $1.25 per day for
each day exceeding thi-ee.

Boards and planks, 8| cents per 1,000.

Shingles, staves, heading, and hoop poles shall be rated at 4,000 per 1,000 feet of
board measure and shall pay the same rate as boards.

Each vessel lying at any wharf or landing not for the purpose of loading or unload-
ing shall pay the following rates:

Steamers and towboats, 1 cent per ton for each ton measurement per month.

Each barge, $2 per month.

Each keel or brick boat, coal barge or flat, $1 per montli.

Each floating wharf, receiving or discharging boat, $1 per month.

Wharf boats engaged in commission business, $300 per year in addition to the rate
charged for wharfage.

Skiff floats, $2 per month.

Boat clubs, $2 per month if at paved wharf and $1 per month if at unpaved wharf.

Bath boats free of charge at points to be designated by the wharfmaster.

The committee on wharves and landings is empowered by the city councils to make
special contracts with parties using landings by the year.

The mayor of Pittsburg is an advocate of increased wharfage rates.
As already pointed out, the wharves of Pittsburg were deeded to the
city by the Penn heirs, the deed expressly stipulating that the city of
Pittsburg should not charge more than an amount sufficient to main-
tain the wharves in good condition. For this reason it is believed
by some of the citizens of Pittsburg that the municipal government
has no authority to mcrease these rates or even to charge those in
force at present.

There are no harbor dues nor other charges separate from wharf
charges. A nominal sum is paid to the city for the privilege of
mooring a wharf boat. This m the case of the Pittsburg and Cin-
cinnati Packet Line has amounted to SI 2 per year, besides wliich
the hue has paid the regular rates of landing charges for its steamers,
A proposed new ordinance under consideration in June, 1907, in the
city council contemplates changing this nominal charge to a certain
rate per foot of river front used.



At several points on the Monongahela River the landing facilities
are very poor. At Monessen, where are situated the mills of the
Pittsburg Steel Company, the Pago Wire Fencing Compan}^, and
other mills, the boats are unable to get any landing at all, owing to
the tracks of the Baltimore and Ohio along the shore. AtCharleroi
conditions are somewhat similar; and even at Fairmont, W. Va.,
the boats are compelled to land on the other side of the river from
the business portion of the town, since the rest of the river front on
both sides is controlled by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

Table 10 — Wharfage charges at towns on Ohio River between Pittsburg and Cincinnati

East Liverpool, Ohio

Wheeling, \V. Va

Clarington, Ohio

New Martinsville, W. Va.

Sistersville, W. Va

St. Marys, W. Va

Marietta, Ohio

Parkerslnirg, W. Va

Ravenswood, W. Va

Pomeroy , Ohio

MiddJeport, Ohio

Point Pleasant, W. Va. . .

Gallipolis, Ohio

CrowTi City, Ohio

Millersport, Ohio








' ' '.'56



Huntington, W. Va.

Catlettsburg, Ky

Ashland, Ky

Ironton, Ohio

Greenup, Ky

Portsmouth, Ohio...

Vanceburg, Ky

Rome, Ohio

Manchester, Ohio

Maysville, Ky

Ripley, Ohio

Higginsport, Ohio. ..

Augusta, Ky

New Richmond

Cinciimati, Ohio








a Fifty cents, 75 cents, or $1, according to business.


Terminals^ at St. Louis

The harbor and wharf commissioner of St. Louis, in a letter to
the secretary of the Business Men's League of St. Louis, dated April
13, 1907, describes the water-front terminal facilities of the city as
follows :

The city of St. Louis, Mo., has a water front along the Mississippi River of 19 miles,
of which 7 miles are owned by the city and designated as a public wharf. Three
and one-half miles are improved for wagon traffic, with telford, macadam, and granite
block pavements. The public wharf varies in width from 265 feet to 880 feet.

The city charter adopted in 1876 defines the harbor and provides that the jurisdic-
tion of the harbor and wharf commissioner shall extend overall lands, river bank, and
beach dedicated, condemned, or belonging to the city for wharf purposes, within the
city and over so much of the Mississippi River and to the middle of the main channel
thereof, as lies immediately in front of the city over which the city has control.

The harbor and wharf commissioner is appointed by the mayor and confirmed by
the city council for a term of four years.

Private ownership of the river front has never been interfered with.

The river traffic has not any direct railroad connections. All freight handled by
boats is unloaded upon the public wharf and is brought to or taken from the wharf by
teams. The public wharf embraces the only water terminal facilities here, and is
ample to accommodate all steamboats arriving at this port.

There is a local railway engaged in transferring freight in carload lots to merchants
and manufacturers or to the different main lines. It is owned and controlled by
private individuals.

Freight is handled in crossing the river by means of two bridges and by ferry boats
provided with tracks, accommodating 14 cars.

"N The dimensions of steamboats plying here are about 250 feet long and 35 feet beam,
with a draft of 6 feet loaded.



The harbor and wharf commissioner of St. Louis, is the head of the
harbor and wharf department and a member of the board of pub-
He improvements. This board makes all contracts and leases (except
those made by the city council by ordinance) and has the supervision
of the accounts and expenses of the department; all bills must be
approved by the president of the board, who is elected by popular
vote. The salary of the harbor and wharf commissioner is $3,000

The wharf department of St. Louis is self-supporting and receives
nothing from the general fund of the city. Before the wharfage
charges on steamboats were abolished m 1904, the rate was 3f cents
per ton on the hull measurement. This rate applied alike to all
classes of boats, except that boats owned and j^aying taxes in St.
Louis were allowed a reduction of 40 per cent, making the charge
2} cents per ton (hull measurement). Payment of this wharf charge
gave a boat of 200 tons or less the privilege of lying at the wharf
for seven days; one of 300 tons, for eight days; one of 400 tons, for
nine days; one of 500 or more tons, for ten days.

In 1904, an ordinance was passed allowing steamboats to land with-
out payment of wharfage, the receipts from other sources being suf-
ficient to maintain the river front and city wharves.

The following statement shows the receipts and expenditures of
the harbor and wharf department for the fiscal year ending April, 1907 :


Lumber, at 10 cents per M $392. 10

Any lumber unloaded on river front from railroad or from rafts,
except lumber from steamboats on which there is no wharfage charge.

Firewood, at 10 cents per cord 267. 45

Skids 18.00

Used to place under freight piled on wharf; rate is 6 cents per skid
per annum to stevedore contractors to keep on wharf.

Steamboat wharfage 159. 37

Accrued before steamboat wharfage charges were abolished.

Ferry licenses 7, 350. 00

Miscellaneous rents:

Wliarf boats 2, 535. 00

Landings for sand boats 3, 093. 00

Track privileges from railroad companies on unimproved wharf, i. e.,

river front 49, 228. 12

Elevators (ground rent on land on which "river houses" stand) 720. 00

Cotton compress companies 900. 00

Lumber companies (yards for storing lumber) 6, 372. 63

Rowing clubs 180. 00

Services of harbor boat pumping out sunken boat 35. 00

Miscellaneous commodities stored on river front, as coal, ice, general
merchandise, etc 7, 037. 00

Total 78, 287. 67


Office expenses (salaries, etc.) 10, 977. 41

Harbor-boat expenses 12, 541. 45

Cleaning levee and removing obstructions in river 9, 859. 70

Repairs to wharf, labor, etc 14, 924. 37

Total 48, 302. 93

Net receipts 29, 984. 74

This balance goes into the harbor fund, which is kept distinct from
the general fund of the city.


Kailroad and ferry companies own or control a large part of the
river frontage at St. Louis. There is also, as previously noted (p.
129), evidence of an understanding among members of the St. Louis
Steamboat Managers' Association (which controls the greater part of
the most available landings) that none of them shall aid a new line
to secure wharf facilities.

Terminals at Memphis.

At Memphis wharfage is assessed by the city under an act passed
by the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, March 29, 1893.
The act reads:

That there is hereby levied a wharfage tax upon all steamboats and other water craft
landing at such territory, to grade and pave such wharf, and to keep the same in proper
and safe condition for use, as follows, viz:

All steamboats, barges, and steamboat hulls used as barges, and all wharf boats, shall
pay 2\ cents per ton on the under deck capacity, which shall entitle them to all the
privileges of the wharf and landing, to receive and discharge freight and passengers for
the space of one week: Provided, That all steamboats, barges, and steamboat hulls used
as barges that remain at the landing for the space of six hours or less shall pay the follow-
ing rates of wharfage, \'iz:

For 100 tons and under $2. 50

From 100 to 200 tons 3. 00

From 200 to 300 tons 3. 50

From 300 to 400 tons 4. 00

From 400 to 500 tons 5. 00

From 500 to 700 tons 6. 00

From 700 to 800 tons 7. 00

From 800 to 900 tons 8. 00

From 900 to 1,000 tons 9. 00

From 1,000 tons and above 10. 00

and one-half the above rates for each additional six hours or less which they may remain
after the first term of six hours.

All flatboats shall pay $3 for landing and .$6 for each week or %\ for each day they
remain at the lauding, Sundays excepted.

Under this act the receipts during 1906 were SI 1,304.48 and the
expenditures S5,640.76. The balance is kept in a fimd to improve and
maintain the river front. The wharf master is elected for two years by
the police board and the board of public works in joint session.

The wharf boat at Memphis is owned by the Consolidated Wharf-
boat Company. The stock of this company is held by the Arkansas
River Packet Company and the Memphis and Ai-kansas City Packet
Company, each owning 50 per cent. The boats of these two com-
panies use the wharf boat, as do also the Cincinnati and St. Louis
boats of the Lee Line.

Terminal Facilities at New Orleans

The port of New Orleans extends for nearly 15 miles along the
Mississippi River, from Westwego and Southport, above the city to
Chalmette, 5 miles below Canal street. On the west shore of the
river, opposite the city, are landings at Westwego, Harvey's Canal,
Gretna, Algiers, and McLellanville. Westwego is the terminal of the
Texas and Pacific Railroad, while the New Orleans Terminal Rail-
waj^, whose tracks connect with nearly all the railroads on the east
bank, ends at Chalmette.



The river is from one-half to three-quarters of a mile in width, and
the depth within 10 feet from the banks ranges from 40 to 100 feet.
The harbor is well sheltered. The current of the river is not too
strong for unloading in midstream, although most of the vessels land
broadside along the wharves, which are constructed on piling and
extend out into the stream, in some places from 50 to 100 feet. This
whole wharfage front on the left bank of the river, which is the bank
on which the greater part of the New Orleans population lives, is
approached b}^ streets and by lines of railroad tracks which permit
cars to come on the wharf and load directly into the ships.

As the Mississippi rises far above the level of the streets of New
Orleans in times of flood, great banks of earth have been thrown up
to protect the city and suburbs from its invasion, and these levees
serve the purpose of marginal streets along the water front, the
wharves, however, extending in some cases over the levees.

Along the levee above Canal street are the wharves of the Leyland-
West India Line, the Head Line, the Elder-Dempster Line, the Cuban
Line, the Creole Line, and others. A short distance below Canal
street are the wharves of the Morgan Line, running a regular line of
steamers to New York, and just below their wharves are those of the
Harrison Line, which trades to Liverpool.

The wharves and storage sheds at Westwego, which afford 2,700
feet of wharf room, belong to the Texas and Pacific Railroad, and are
used almost exclusively for its shipments. Four or five miles farther
down the river, at Gretna and Algiers, are the terminal wharves of the
Southern Pacific, with a wharf space of 870 feet and docks capable
of accommodating four or five ocean steamers at one time. Several
miles farther down the river the United States naval station has a
large floating dock, which is utilized mainly in repairing vessels of
the merchant marine. On the east bank of the river are nearly five
miles of public wharves and about one mile of privately owned rail-
road wharves.

Port Chalmette is owned and operated by the New Orleans Belt and
Terminal Company, and their property has a capacity for the storage
and warehousmg of cotton for something like 200,000 bales. The
grain elevator has a capacity of 500,000 bushels, running 10,000
bushels per hour into a vessel's hold. Their wharf accommodation on
the river front is about 3,800 feet, with sheds along the line, and a
storage capacity for large quantities of general cargo. Their track
reaches all around the city, crossing every railroad coming into it, and
connecting at Avondale (the upper limit of the port) with the rail-
roads on the other side of the river, viz, the Southern Pacific, and the
Texas and Pacific railroads.

The Illinois Central Railroad has 3,500 feet of water front w^th
two elevators of 1,000,000 bushels capacity and 1,500,000 bushels
capacity, respectively, at the Stuj^vesant Docks. This latter elevator
of the Illinois Central Railroad is one of the largest and finest in the
United States. It is erected just above the site of the Stu}^vesant
Docks, and the wharfage has been expanded thereby 2,000 feet,
giving the Illinois Central Railroad a total of 5,500 feet of river front


at Stu3rvesant Docks. The elevator is constructed of the most
modern material and equipment, and is able to receive 100,000
bushels of grain per hour. Four steamships can be loaded at the
same time, and the product of the great river valley can be poured
into their holds at a rate of 80,000 bushels per hour. Besides the
wharf facilities at Stuyvesant Docks, the Illinois Central Railroad
also controls Southport, with two elevators of a total capacity of
500,000 bushels, and a frontage on the Mississippi River of some
1,600 feet.

The Texas and Pacific Railroad has an elevator of 1,000,000
bushels capacity.

The board of port commissioners has been authorized to issue
$2,000,000 of bonds for building wharves, sheds, paved approaches,
and other port improvements. The board has well under way a com-
prehensive system of sheds, approaches, and new wharves, which it is
claimed \vi\\ within the next few years make the harbor of New
Orleans second to none in the country. The public wharves are
rapidly being covered with steel sheds.

Besides the annual appropriations by the National Government for
keeping the harbor in condition, the board of port commissioners
keeps a dredge boat continuall}^ at work removing deposits that
frequently form shoals in the river, especially after liigh water. The
board also maintains a fire boat, which renders aid without charge in
case of fire on any vessel or wharf.


Endless chains are used for loading and unloading sugar and
molasses, and similar chains to which pouches are attached are used
in unloading tropical fruit ships.

In most cases spur tracks run from the main railroad tracks to the
ship's side, to permit direct loading and unloading.

The city of New Orleans is now constructing a belt railroad system
which will encircle the entire city and will be o\\Tied and operated by
the city. It is alreadj^ constructed along the river front, serving
nearly all the wharves along the left bank, and is in partial operation.
When completed it will connect all the railroads.


The administration of the river front and the right to fix and col-
lect wharfage rates was first granted to the city of New Orleans by
the State of Louisiana in the charter of 1836. The city, however,
could not exact charges in excess of the cost of facilities erected for
the accommodation of shipping, together with the cost of adminis-
tration; that is, in excess of the amount required for running
expenses, extensions and improvements, and for the sinking fimd and
interest on bonds. Thus the administration of wharves was an
expense and not a source of revenue to the State. From the con-
solidation of the municipalities in 1852 until 1901 the city retained
direct control of the wharf system for only about fourteen years, the
remaining thirty-five years being covered by leases to private individ-


uals. In 1891 the last lease of the wharves was made to Charles K.
Burdeau (afterwards the Louisiana Construction and Improvement
Company), for a term of ten years. The annual reports of the last
lessee show that during the ten years of its lease it declared more
than $600,000 in dividends.

The lease system was so unsatisfactory to the public that m 1896,
after five j'^ears of declining commerce, the State legislature created a
commission to take charge of the port.

The board of commissioners of the port of New Orleans is the out-
come of many years of effort on the part of the commercial ex-
changes, the industrial bodies, and others interested in the welfare of
the port of New Orleans. Tliis board, which is composed of promi-
nent business men who serve without pay, not only takes the place
of the wharf lessee, but also combines the duties formerly devolving
upon the harbor masters, port wardens, wharfingers, and contraven-
tion clerks. The act creating this board, passed in 1896, provided for
the purchase of the wharf lease from funds then in the city treasury;
but this fund having been diverted by subsequent legislation to
drainage purposes, and the city not being financially able to appro-
priate other funds for the purpose, the board of port commissioners,
from its organization on the 5th of September, 1896, to the date of
termination of the lease. May 29, 1901, only performed the duties of
administration of the wharf system formerly devolving on the com-
missioners of public works, together with the duties of harbor mas-
ters and port wardens.

On May 29, 1901, the board of commissioners assumed charge of
the wharves and landings of the port of New Orleans, and the wharf-
age rates were reduced from a fixed charge of 12 cents per ton, whether
the vessel remained at the wharf a period of one or sixty days, to the
rates established by the amendatory act of 1900— namely, a charge
of 2 cents per ton per day for the first three days, and 1 cent per ton
per day for the next three days, making the maximum charge 9
cents per ton and the minimum charge 2 cents per ton. Payment of
the maximum charge allows vessels to remain at the wharves a period
of thirty-six consecutive days. There is no charge whatever on the
cargoes entering the port. New Orleans is one of the very few if not
the only port in this country charging no wharfage for merchandise.

The employees of the board are a superintendent and a secretary,
each receiving an annual salary of $3,000; two engineers, receiving
annual salaries of $2,400 and $1,600, respectively; four deputy com-
missioners, one collector, a superintendent of construction, a book-
keeper, and twelve other employees— inspectors, messengers, and
assistants. The total cost of administration is less than $33,000
per annum. The board also maintains a patrol S3^stem of policemen
at a cost of about $22,000 per annum.

There is no income from rentals, leases, etc., all the income being
from the sources stated above. All the funds recei^ved are used for
the improvement and extension of harbor facilities, and for the re-
demption fund to retire the bonds which were issued for the improve-
ment of the wharves.

The more significant portions of the act creating the board of com-
missioners of the port of New Orleans (Laws of 1896, Act No. 70, as


amended by Laws of 1900, Act No. 36, Revised Laws, 1904, pp.
1023-1027) are reproduced below:

■^Tiereas the port of New Orleans has been gradually extended until it has reached
beyond the limits and jurisdiction of the city of New Orleans; and

Whereas the divided authority of three parishes and the multiplicity of officials
with their various fees, and the development of contagious [contiguous] rival ports
will act injuriously and prejudicially to the traffic of the port; and _ .

Whereas the tax on shipping exacted for various fees, charges, etc., is of such pro-
portion as to threaten to divert the trade to less expensive ports; and

Whereas the supervision and control of an intelligent board of State commissioners
can consolidate the services of harbor master and wardens, wharf superintendents,
wharfingers of three parishes into one set of competent employees at a reduced ex-
pense; can operate the wharves and other terminal facilities of the port and greatly
develop and expand its commerce by removing many of the obstacles now placed in
the way of its advancement; and

Whereas due public notice of the intention to apply for the passage of this act has
been given as required by article 48 of the constitution: Therefore

Appointment of Commissioners — Term of office

Online LibraryUnited States. Inland Waterways CommissionPreliminary report of the Inland Waterways Commission. Message from the President transmitting a preliminary report → online text (page 13 of 83)