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Statement showing the exports of wheat and wheat-flour (flour reduced to bushels) at Boston,
Ver York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore during the years from 1873 to 1876, inclusive, and the percentage of such exports at each port.
It also appears from the following statements that there has been little relative change in the receipts of oats and barley at the four principal Atlantic seaports. Slatement showing the receipts of oats and barley at Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore during the years from 1873 to 1876, inclusive, and the percentage of such receipts at each port.
Statement showing the exports of oats and barley at Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and
Baltimore during the years from 1873 to 1876, inclusive, and the percentage of such receipts
at each port.
It appears from the foregoing statements there has been no marked change in the course of the traffic in wheat, oats, and barley, owing to the fact that the receipts of those grains at the seaports are very largely for local consumption or for shipment to points along the Atlantic seaboard in the United States, and therefore that the transportation of those commodities is competitive in a comparatively low degree.
It appears, however, from the following statements, that the corn traffie is subject to very different conditions in so far as relates to competition between the several trunk lines and between the four principal Atlantic seaports.
Statement showing the receipts of corn at Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore
during the years from 1873 to 1876, inclusive, and the percentage of such receipts at each port.
Statement showing the exports of corn at Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore
during the years from 1873 to 1876, inclusive, and the percentage of such erports at each port.
The foregoing statements in regard to corn indicate that there has been a very marked change in its movements to the seaboard, and that this change is due almost exclusively to the exportation of it to Europe.
Each one of the trunk lines having nearly equal advantages for the foreign trade afforded by steamer lines and sailing vessels to ports in Europe, the cost of transportation by these several routes from western points to the grain markets of Europe is very nearly equal. Therefore, as already explained, the corn traffic is competitive in a very high degree, both with respect to the interests of the trunk lines and of the four principal Atlantic seaports.
The following statement shows the increased receipts of grain during 1876 over those of 1873, in comparison with the increased receipts of corn during 1876 orer those of 1873:
This statement rery clearly shows that the diversion of the graintrade from New York and the increase in the grain receipts at Boston,
Philadelphia, and Baltimore is due almost entirely to the diversion of the corn-trade alone.
Wbile the exportation of wheat, flour, rye, oats, and barley has exhibited little change with respect to the interests of the various trunk lines and of the Atlantic seaports, the exportation of corn has changed as follows: The exportation from Boston has increased from 1 to 7 per cent.; at New York it has decreased from 65 to 28 per cent.; at Philadelphia it has increased from 9 to 29 per cent.; and at Baltimore it has increased from 25 to 36 per cent. of the total receipts at the four ports.
This remarkable diversion in the corn-trade appears to be mainly attributable to the following causes :
First. Corn being a commodity of low value in proportiou to weight, its movements have been greatly influenced by the small difference in rates which have prevailed in favor of the Pennsylvania and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroads, in consequence of the excellent facilities for the transfer of grain from railroad-cars to steamships at the ports of Philadelpbia and Baltimore, in connection with the arrangements which have been perfected at those ports for the direct shipments of grain from interior points to Europe.
Second. The cargoes from the United States to Europe being now much in excess of the import-cargoes, vessel-owners are free to seek ex. port-cargoes wherever they can be obtained, and the advantage as to the available supply of ocean-tonnage does not operated so strongly in favor of New York as formerly.
Other commodities for which the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroads afford direct transportation in connection with ocean-lines to Europe have also to a considerable extent followed the direction of the corn-trade. It is, howerer, declared by those who are familiar with the grain-trade that the diversion of corn from New York to other ports during the year 1876 was very largely due to an exceptional circumstance affecting the crop of the year 1875. It is said that the corn-crop of the more northern corn-producing district was injured by dampness, and did not come to maturity, so that it reached the market in a bad condition and unfit for exportation, whereas the crop of the southern portion of the corn-producing area came to maturity in good condition, and was alone available for meeting a large and unexpected foreign demand.
The foregoing facts bave been adduced with the view of showing as clearly as possible, by available characteristic data, that there are very many conditions affecting the competitive traffic between the west and the seaboard, that these conditions are variable, and that they are so intimately blended that it is impossible to prescribe geographical or commercial limits to the traffic of any line or to the trade of any sea.
It is impossible within the prescribed limits of this report to consider more fully the comparative advantages held by the various seaports for supremacy or for the control of any particular branch of commerce. The facts stated fall far short of a complete development of this great and important subject, for it embraces all the elements of the prosperity of commercial cities, including their capital, the force of associated enterprises, the energy, tact, and persistency of their merchants, the manner in which their interests are affected by the tarift upon imported goods, and by the rapidly-increasing power of American manufactures, the geographical position of water and rail lines, and the available supply of coal, iron, lumber, and all other commodities which go to meet the wants or to contribute to the commerce of a great city. Facts which indicate the relative magnitude of the commerce of the four
principal Atlantic seaports. There are no available data affording an accurate comparative view of the total internal and foreign commerce of the various seaports based upon either the quantity or the value of commodities. The following statement in regard to bank clearing-house transactions at Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore affords an approximate indication of the relative magnitude of the commerce of the four cities. To wbat extent the clearances at New York embrace transactions not properly representative of the commerce of that port cannot be ascertained.
The relative value of the foreign commerce of the four principal At. lantic seaports is presented in the following table, showing the value of imports and exports at each one of these ports during the year ending June 30, 1976:
Value of im. Value of ex-
of foreign commerce.
Per cent. al
$311, 712, 910 $294, 705, 902 8606, 418, 812 76.2
37, 416, 623 36, 041, 892 73, 458, 515 9.3 22, 471, 516 40, 254, 075 62, 725, 591 7.8 22, 340, 629 31, 216, 807 53, 557, 436 6.7 393, 941, 678 402, 218, 676 796, 160, 354 100.0
The clearing-house transactions at New York appear to constitute 81' per cent. of the total clearing-house transactions at Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, and the foreign commerce of New York appears to be 76 per cent. of the total foreign commerce of the same cities.
These statistics, in connection with the facts already presented in regard to the grain-trade, prove that the movements of any particular commodity, even one of prime necessity, do not afford an indication of the general course of trade or of the relative magnitude of the commerce of the great seaports. Although a larger quantity of corn is passing through Baltimore than through New York, the total commerce of Baltimore, in so far as indicated by clearing-house transactions, is but 24 per cent. of the commerce of New York, and, in so far as indicated by exports, the commerce of Baltimore is less than 9 per cent. of the value of the foreign commerce of New York. There is a certain territory directly tributary to the trade of Baltimore, and each one of the Atlan. tic seaports has a separate local trade, and enjoys peculiar advantages for trade with the West, with the South, and with foreign coun. tries. The city of New York can rely for the maintenance of its commercial supremacy upon its enormous capital; the geographical adrantages of its position as a distributing point; its direct connections with all parts of the United States by rail and water lines; the exclusive advantages of that important line of transportion formed by the lakes, the Erie Canal, and the Hudson River; the persistency of its established commercial relations with almost every country on the globe; the energy and intelligence of its merchants, and the fact that it is the chief monetary center of the western continent.
The foregoing statistics in regard to the movements of grain simply serre to illustrate certain important trade.currents and to throw light upon the question of transportation, but they evidently fall very far short of conveying adequate information upon which can be based any prediction as to the future prosperity or decadence of commercial cities.
GENERAL RAILROAD MANAGEMENT IN REGARD TO THROUGH TRAFFIC.
The facts already presented, which point to the impracticability of drawing any exact lines of demarkation between the local and the competitive traffic of the several trunk lines and between the local and the competitive trade of the several seaboard cities, also serve to throw light upon the competitive struggles between the railroads connecting the West with the seaboard, and to explain the difficulties which the man. agers of these lines have encountered in their efforts to protect them. selves against themselves-efforts which have generally terminated in the often-recurring and protracted railroad wars. The effort to adjust competitive rates between the West and the seaboard began about twenty years ago, when the Erie and the New York Central Railroads had ex. tended their lines to Lake Erie, and the Pennsylvania and the Baltimore