the unloading rig have a lot to do with it, and if an automatic trimmer is used, it reduces the cost materially, for the greatest cost is in the trimming.
Mr. Thomas Draper, Port Huron, Michigan, well posted in these matters, says:-
Last week while in Cleveland I had an interview with Mr. J. P. Doyle, Sales Manager of the Pittsburg Coal Co., Cleveland. This firm is one of the largest distributors of coal in the United States, having fleets of tow boats and barges on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and also many boats on the Great Lakes. Mr. Doyle stated they generally load their boats with the car dumpers which are installed at the different lake Erie docks and they unload with the McMyler whorlies. These are of all sizes, from 2£ to 5 ton. He showed me several statements where vessels of 5,800 to 6,000 tons were unloaded to cars or docks at an average cost of 9 cents per ton. These whorlies swing on a radius of about 54 feet. He further mentioned that at Algonquin and Soo docks, where they unload a great deal of coal, they use 2^ ton whorlies which they run almost constantly during the 24 hours, and at these busy points the cost of unloading is about 7 cents per ton. I have further information that most of the stone boats unload very much cheaper than this by means of a conveyor system the same as the Pringle Barge Lines are installing for the coal trade in the St. Clair river. This latter plan does not require any machinery on the dock as the boats can run it into any dock and unload with their own machinery.
The railroads claim that the lowest rate coal can be carried from Alberta points to points in Ontario is $9 per ton. The National Railways this year agreed to bring 25,000 tons at $7 and did bring 18,000 tons, which was distributed to about 180 different localities in Ontario and shipments were then discontinued until after western grain had been moved. However, the lake and rail haul is feasible, and it would, of course, be cheaper than all rail. Port Arthur and Fort William are about 1,200 miles from Edmonton, while Toronto is 2,000, and coal ought to be carried to the head of the lakes for three-fifths of the through rate. Taking $9 as a basis, I consider that coal should be carried to the head of the lakes for $5.40.
In regard to cost of the lake haul, United States coal is now carried from lake Erie points to the head of the lakes at 60 cents per ton, exclusive of 5 cents for loading and 10 cents for unloading. Iron ore from Duluth to lake Erie ports is carried at $1 per long ton of 2,240 pounds, and as most of the vessels carrying ore down the lakes return light, a one-way cargo at $1 per ton evidently pays all expenses. The grain rate from Duluth to Buffalo is 1J cents per bushel or 50 cents per ton.
I am advised by marine experts that if $1 per ton were offered on coal, Port Arthur or Fort William to Georgian bay, Windsor or lake Erie points, it would be the best paying freight on the lakes and be very attractive to vessel owners. From the figures I have it may be assumed that a rail-and-water rate
on Alberta coal should be less than $7 per
ton, made up as follows:
Edmonton to Port Arthur $5 40
Loading to boat 40
Boat charge 1 00
Total 56 60
I have gone very thoroughly into loading and unloading methods, and can report that up-to-date coal dumpers, including graded trucks, capable of dumping 2,000 tons per hour could be installed at a cost of from $400,000 to $500,000, and these would dump gondola or any kind of open cars. There are already a number of ports on Georgian Bay, as well as Sarnia, Windsor and some lake Erie ports, that are equipped to unload coal.
I have obtained information with regard to the loading system of the Hocking Valley Railway at Toledo, where two coal tipples last year, up to December 11th, transferred from cars to boats more than 8,000,000 tons of coal. Each of these tipples has a capacity of 2,000 tons per hour rating on 50 ton cars, but this is greatly increased when they dump 60, 70, 80, 90 or 100 ton cars, as they take no longer to dump than 50-ton cars. On this average for the season, it costs less than 5 cents per ton to transfer from cars to boats. During the loading of the steamer Henry Ford at the Baltimore & Ohio docks in Toledo recently, the actual time of dumping a large gondola car was about one and a half minutes, and it takes about the same time to handle the cars on and off the tipple, so that the capacity of this tipple is about 40 cars per hour.
We collect $135,000,000 of Canadian money and send it to the United States for coal. What do we get for it? Then we collect from our people another $135,000,000 to send again to the United States next year. And so the grind goes on while our miners and their families are starving and our resources lie undeveloped.
Would not this Dominion government be justified in spending a million dollars in equipping two unloading docks at Port Arthur and Fort William, and another million for largo gondola cars for the special coal traffic? This would mean increased labour for Canadian railroad men, Canadian steamboat employees and Canadian coal miners of the West. The latter would have an all the year trade, instead of for only a few months as at present. If this arrangement could be worked out, the mine owners would soon reduce the cost of mining, for their overhead would then be spread over an entire year instead of a few months as at present, and the miners would take less wages for steady work all the year round.