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These distances were furnished by the United States Coast Survey, and are stated in nautical miles. The distance from New York to San Francisco is 13,900. The difference in distance between Montreal and Europe and between the several Atlantic seaports and Europe is not in a commercial sense a consideration of much value. There are, however, other conditions involved in the competition for trade between the West and Europe wbich are of much greater importance. The cost of transporting a given commodity a distance of 100 miles betreen certain points may in other instances be greater than the cost of transporting it 1,000 miles. The most important condition determining the average freight-charges to or from any porů is usually the magnitude of the total commerce of that port. The relative volume of the maritime commerce of seaports is approximately indicated by the tonnage entered.
The striking commercial advantages enjoyed in this respect by New York in comparison with Montreal are shown by the following table, showing the tonnage entered at New York and at Montreal daring each year from 1860 to 1875, inclusive:
The increase of tonnage entered since the year 1860 has been, at New York, 2,447,262 tons; at Montreal, 524,170 tons. The port of New York enjoys the advantages of a very large trade with the West Indies and with the countries of South America, as well as with all other commercial countries of the globe, and the enormous supply of tonnage almost always affords facilities of transport for any demand which may arise for the exportation of grain or other western products to foreigu coun. tries. The available supply of tonnage at Montreal is, on the other hand, quite limited.
The principal article of exportation at Montreal is grain, and this commodity gives employment in the outward voyage of vessels to more than half the available tonnage at that port. No port can, however, increase its grain-trade very much out of proportion to its general business, as any attempt to do so would merely enhance the cost of ocean freights and thus throw the advantage upon the side of a rival port. Or, to express this fact in other words, the rates wbich can be obtained for the transportation of grain from Montreal to Liverpool are not sufficient to pay the expenses of the round voyage of a vessel to and from
that port, and, therefore, the grain-trade depends upon the essential condition of an import-trade which shall pay a part of the expense of the round voyage. This condition is met in a much greater degree at New York than at Montreal.
In view of these facts and of the exceedingly low cost of transportation per ton per mile upon the ocean, it oftentimes occurs that grain can be transported from New York and from other Atlantic seaports cheaper than from Montreal, notwithstanding the fact that the distance from the Atlantic seaports of the United States is greater than by the usual route from Montreal to Liverpool.
The Canadian route is subject to several disadvantages.
First. The commerce of Montreal is entirely suspended by ice during five months of the year, whereas the harbor of New York is never closed.
Second. During several weeks of the period when the pavigation of the Saint Lawrence River is open, that route to the ocean is subject to dangers and difficulties in consequence of fogs and floating ice. These disadvantages of the Canadian route' are a serious impediment to ocean commerce, from the fact that Montreal is situated 986 miles from the ocean by way of the straits of Belle Isle. The city of New York is, on the other hand, situated within a few miles of the ocean, and is accessible at all seasons of the year. The rates of insurance on vessels and on cargoes by the Montreal route are of course very much advanced during those periods when the dangers of navigation are greatest.
Third. The distance from Montreal to foreign countries other than those of Europe is very much greater than the distance from the Atlantic seaports of the United States. About 15 per cent. of the grain exported from the United States is shipped to the West Indies and to South American ports. The Canadian route is not to any considerable extent a competitor for this trade, from the fact that the distance from Montreal is about fourteen hundred miles greater than from New York.
A fourth limitation to the grain-trade of Montreal arises from the fact that when grain is shipped to that city from the Western States it cannot be distributed to points in the New England States or other States of the Atlantic seaboard except upon payment of duty. This operates practically as an inhibition upon such trade, as appears from the following statement, showing the duties on all grains imported into the United States under our present tariff laws:
Customs-duties. 20 cents per bushel. 20 per cent. ad valorem. 10 cents per bushel. 10 per cent. ad valorem. 15 cents per bushel. 10 per cent. ad valorem. 10 cents per bushel.
1 cent per pound. 20 per cent. ad valorem.
The disadvantages experienced by the port of Montreal on account of this impediment to trade are thus stated by the Hon. Hugh McLellan, president of the Montreal Board of Trade, in a letter addressed to the chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Transportation, dated November 1, 1873:
The privilege of selling grain or flour, the products of the Western States, to New England without hinderance or charge would, even with our present canal facilities, enable ns to import largely from the West not only to obtain that additional trade, but with that as an alternative for surplus, our export-trade by sea would assume larger proportions. The vessel owned or chartered now acts with caution, fearing that the tonnage may exceed the volume of freight offering. The grain operator if he now orders in excess of tonnage has no alternative but to store until relieved by additional arrival of vessels.
The trank railroads of Canada, namely, the Grand Trank, the Great Western, and the Canada Southern Railroads, are not, however, so much restricted in regard to their traffic as the city of Montreal is with respect to its trade. Under the laws and regulations of the United States touching what is known as the "transit trade," products of the United States may be transported from one point in the United States through the Dominion of Canada to another point in the United States in sealed cars without the payment of duty. This privilege has been granted by the United States to the Canadian railroads in the belief that the advantages afforded the people of this country, through the competition of the Canadian routes, are sufficient to warrant the extension of the privileges of the "transit trade.” The people of Canada are also allowed to transport freight across the territory of the United States without the payment of duty. This transit-trade is more fully treated of in another part of this report.
The following tables indicate the relative grain trade of New York and Montreal for several years :
Western grain Western grain
received at received at New York. Montreal.
1963 1864. 1865. 1966. 1867 1968.
6, 151, 521 6, 289, 824 5,388, 291 4,541, 892 4, 928, 830 4.980, 709 10, 050, 651 10, 368, 899 14, 641, 630 15, 213, 029 19, 713, 529 16,875, 728 17, 073, 018 18, 969, 918
1870 1871. 1872 1873* 1874 1275 1076
* For calendar year.
During the first five years of this period the receipts at Montreal and New York were as follows:
Bushels. Received at New York...
274, 337,069 Received at Montreal.
27, 300, 358
301, 637, 427 Of the total receipts at the two cities during the period just referred to, 90 per cent. was received at New York and 10 per cent at Montreal.
During the last five years mentioned in the above table, the receipts at Montreal and New York were as follows:
Bushels. Received at New York....
476, 184,897 Received at Montreal
87, 845, 222
.... 564, 030, 119 Of the total quantity received at the two cities, 83 per cent. was received at New York and 17 per cent. at Montreal.
The relative receipts of wheat, wheat-flour, and corn at Montreal by the Grand Trunk Railroad and by the Saint Lawrence River during the year 1875 are shown in the following statement:
The relative quantities of wheat, wheat flour, and corn exported from Montreal and from New York to foreign countries are shown by the following table:
It appears that during the first five years of this period there were exported from New York 63,277,733 bushels, and from Montreal 8,813,679
basbels, and that during the last five years there were exported from New York 267,894,622 bushels, and from Montreal 73,437,991 bushels. During the first period, 88 per cent. of the total exports at the two ports was from New York, and 12 per cent. from Montreal, while during the last period 78 per cent. was from New York and 22 per cent. from Montreal. Comparing the exports at each of the two ports during the periods of five years mentioned, it appears, however, that the increased exports at New York amounted to 204,616,890 bushels and the increased exports at Montreal to only 64,624,312 bushels.
TIE UNITED STATES AND CANADIAN TRANSIT TRADE.
There are certain rail and water lines in the Dominion of Canada which form connecting links between transportation-lines in the United States, and there are certain transportation-lines in the United States which form, either in whole or in part, the most direct or the only practicable routes of commerce between different parts of the Dominion of Canada. There are also other lines in the United States which afford to the Do. minop of Canada the means of access to seaports and thence to foreign countries. By reference to Map No. 3, it will be seen that the Grand Trunk Railway through Canada affords the means of direct transportation between points in all parts of the New England States and our Western and Northwestern States. The line of this road extends across the States of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine to Portland. By means of a through-freight-line combination, the Vermont Central Railway organization, with its numerous branch lines extending to all parts of New England, is closely allied in the interests of traffic with the Grand Trunk Railroad. By reference to Maps Nos. 1, 3, and 4, it will also be seen that the railway-lines crossing that part of the upper peninsula of Can. ada lying between the States of New York and Michigan form connect. ing-links between the great trunk lines of the State of New York and lines extending from the Detroit River to Chicago, to Saint Louis, and to all important points in the West.
The Welland Canal, owned and controlled by the Dominion of Canada, and forming the connecting-link of navigation between Lakes Erie and Ontario, is an essential part of the water-line between the ports of the United States on the upper lakes and ports in the State of New York on Lake Ontario and the Saint Lawrence River.
These are the principal Canadian lines which subserve the interests of commerce between points in the United States.
The principal lines in the United States which form important highways of commerce for the people of the Dominion of Canada are the following:
First. The railway-line through the States of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, forming a connection between the railroads of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and the railroads of the province of Quebec.