Survey Manual

410.1 - Traffic Management

This chapter prescribes regulations that apply to the transportation of freight and other traffic management activities throughout the USGS.


OPR: Admin/Facilities and Management Services

1. Purpose. This chapter prescribes regulations that apply to the transportation of freight and other traffic management activities throughout the USGS. These regulations and procedures are designed to ensure that all transportation and traffic management activities will be carried out on a basis most advantageous to the USGS in terms of economy, efficiency and service.

2. Definitions.

A. Carrier. A transportation company (including motor carrier, air freight forwarder, or ocean liner) or corporation engaged in the business of the transportation of goods.

B. Commercial Bill of Lading (CBL). Shipping document issued by the carrier similar to a GBL but bearing the carrier's name and logo. The use of CBLs is authorized for shipments costing $100 or less.

C. Common Carrier. A company engaged in the business of transporting people and/or property for compensation.

D. Consignee. An individual, business, or Government agency to whom a shipment is delivered.

E. Consignor. An individual, business, or Government agency responsible for shipping property.

F. Demurrage. Charge by a carrier for the detention of a shipment, freight car, or other cargo conveyance during loading or unloading beyond the scheduled time of departure.

G. Domestic Shipments. Shipments from, to, or between points in the United States.

H. International Shipments. Shipments from, to or between points outside of the United States.

I. Issuing Officer. An employee who authorizes issuance of GBLs to carriers. The issuing officer should sign all GBLs.

J. Line Haul is the movement of freight from one city to another city by the same carrier.

K. Mode. Method of transporting goods or property (rail, motor freight, air freight or ocean freight).

L. Receiving Officer. A person who receives a shipment or has knowledge of a shipment and is authorized to certify for the receipt thereof.

M. Reconsignment and Diversion. These are carrier terms used interchangeably to denote changes in a shipment after it has been tendered to the origin carrier and before it has been delivered; such as a change in delivery address or routing of a shipment.

N. Special Tender. A tender of rates submitted to the Government under the provisions of Section 10721 of the Interstate Commerce Act which contain rates lower than published tariff rates available to the general public.

O. Tariff. A publication containing rates, rules, ratings, regulations, and/or charges applying to transportation and incidental services.

P. Traffic. The business of moving cargo through a transportation system.

Q. Transportation Officer. A person or persons within the Office of Facilities and Management Services, Administrative Division, in Reston, VA or the Supply Management Unit, Office of the Management Officer, in Denver, CO or Menlo Park, CA, appointed or designated to oversee traffic management functions and to render advice on transportation matters.

R. U.S. Government Bill of Lading (GBL). The GBL is an accountable and controlled document used for the transportation of property of the United States Government when freight charges are to be paid by the Government directly to commercial carriers.

3. Policy

A. GSA will conduct most negotiations for the establishment or modification of rates, charges, services, and regulations pertaining to movement of (1) household goods and (2) and small package express.

B. Except for the transportation of an employee's household goods and small package express, the USGS is authorized to initiate and conduct negotiations on its behalf. The conditions for such negotiations are set forth in 41 CFR 101.40.305.3.

C. The U.S. Government Bill of Lading (SF 1103) can be used for the transportation of property for which the USGS pays the transportation charges directly to commercial carriers. However, because of the cost of executing a GBL, it is USGS policy to use the SF 1103 only when charges exceed $100.00. When transportation cost does not exceed $100.00, Government agencies are authorized to use Commercial Bills of Lading to acquire freight or express transportation services.

D. The Government (1) retains the risk of loss of and or damage to its property that is not the legal liability of commercial carriers, and (2) does not buy insurance coverage for its property in the possession of commercial carriers. (FAR 47.102) (CFR 1-19.107)

E. Preferential treatment, normally, shall not be accorded to any commercial mode of transportation (motor, rail, air, or water) or to any particular commercial carrier when arranging for domestic transportation services. However, where for valid reasons, a particular mode of transportation or a particular carrier within that mode must be used to meet specific program requirements and/or limitations, only that mode or carrier shall be considered. Examples of valid reasons for considering only a particular mode or carrier are: (1) where only a certain mode of transportation or individual carrier is able to provide the needed service or is able to meet the required delivery date; and (2) where the consignee's facilities are not conducive to service by all modes of transportation. (41 CFR 101-40.103-1)

F. International Transportation.

(1) U.S. flag ocean carriers. Ocean shipments, to the greatest extent possible, shall be transported (in or out-bound) by privately owned U.S.-flag commercial vessels.

(2) U.S.-flag certificated air carriers. Arrangements for international air transportation services requires the use of U.S.-flag certificated air carriers for international travel of persons or property to the extent that service by these carriers is available. (41 CFR 101-40.103-2)

G. Generally, the preferred method of transporting property for the Government is through use of the facilities and services of commercial carriers. However, under certain circumstances, Government vehicles may be used when they are available. They may be used for such purposes as local transfer of property, pickup or delivery services which are not performed by the commercial carriers in connection with the line-haul transportation, transportation of property to meet emergencies, and accomplishment of program objectives which cannot be attained through use of commercial carriers. (41 CFR 101-40.105)

4. Responsibilities.

A. The Chief, Office of Facilities and Management Services, Branch of Materials Management, Administrative Division in Reston, VA, and the Chief of the Supply Management Unit, Office of the Management Officer in Denver, CO and Menlo Park, CA are responsible for the development and promulgation of policies for traffic management operations of the USGS. These Offices coordinate and control the movement of property (including household goods, hazardous materials, and property for export or import), review and analyze the utilization and documentation of services, and provide advice and assistance to USGS officials on the selection and use of commercial transportation services.

B. The Chief, Office of Financial Management, is responsible for the processing and payment of all financial transactions for transportation services.

C. The Branch of Materials Management, Office of Facilities and Management Services in Reston, VA, and the Supply Management Unit, Office of the Management Officer, in Denver, CO and Menlo Park, CA are responsible for entering into and administering contracts regarding transportation services for activities within their geographical areas of responsibility.These offices are responsible for the interpretation and application of Federal laws and regulations governing freight classification, rates, tariffs, and services.They shall coordinate with GSA offices as necessary and provide guidance to USGS field offices to insure an understanding of policy and procedures.

D. The Chief, Office of Procurement and Contracts, is responsible for providing advice and technical guidance to all levels of management in the procurement aspects of their planning and budgeting process for transportation services.

5. Procedures.

A. Requirements for Transportation Services. (1) All USGS employees making request for shipping shall assure the availability of funds prior to the incurrence of a USGS obligation for transportation services. The requestor should prepare a Form 9-114, Shipping Instruction Card, and present it to the Branch of Materials Management in Reston, VA or the Supply Management Section in Denver, CO and Menlo Park, CA. See Figure 1 for an ex ample of a completed form 9-114. (2) The shipping activity of these offices packs or repacks material in proper containers for maximum safety during transit.

B. Selection of Carriers. The mode of transportation for a shipment is generally determined by the transportation officer in the Branch of Materials Management, Administrative Division, Reston, VA or Office of the Management Officer, in Denver, CO and Menlo Park, CA. Selection is based upon price, due date at destination, past performance of carrier, and destination city. Every effort should be made to ship to the destination by a through- carrier, that is, the carrier who picks up the shipment will be the delivering carrier at destination. Once selected, the transportation officer must prepare the GBL or CBL, contact the carrier for pick-up, complete the appropriate section of Form 9-114, furnish a copy to the initiator, and file the original.

C. Shipment of Special Items. To accomplish their work, USGS scientists must ship equipment back and forth between locations of their field projects worldwide and their headquarters office. Since there are unique shipping and documentation requirements for such transportation services, it is important for the initiator of the shipment to collaborate with the transportation officer in Reston, VA, Denver, CO or Menlo Park, CA, on the type of packing and preparation for the appropriate mode of transportation.

D. Freight Classification.

(1) General. Freight classification is the process of dividing different commodities into defined groups or classes (such as "Printed Matter" or "Electronics") which serve to indicate the transportation characteristics of the items being shipped. Carriers assign each classification a rate or tender which identifies the applicable rate to be used in assessing transportation charges.

(2) Specific.

(a) The classification description of the material becomes the basis for determining the freight charges to be assessed by the carrier. Each shipment shall be described on the U.S. Government Bill of Lading or commercial bill of lading as specified by the carrier's tariff, or rate tender.

(b) A shipment containing materials, such as explosives, flammable liquids, flammable gas, oxidizers, radioactive materials or poison A or poison B, shall be prepared for shipment and described on bills of lading or other shipping documents in accordance with the Department of Transportation Hazardous Materials Regulations, 49 CFR Parts 170 through 177.

(3) Government rate tenders under section 10721 of the Interstate Commerce Act.

(a) Under the provisions of section 10721 (formerly Section 22) of the Interstate Commerce Act (49 U.S.C. 10721), com mon carriers are permitted to submit tenders to the Government which contains rates lower than published tariff rates available to the general public.

(b) Section 10721 rates are published in Government rate tenders and apply to shipments moving for the account of the Government on:

(i) Government bills of lading.

(ii) Commercial bills of lading endorsed to show that such bills of lading are to be converted to Government Bills of Lading after delivery to consignee.

(iii) Commercial bills of lading endorsed to show the total transportation charges are assignable to, and will be paid by, the USGS.

(c) Government agencies may negotiate with carriers for additional or revised section 10721 rates in appropriate situations. Only qualified transportation officers shall carry out these negotiations. The following are examples of situations in which negotiations for additional or revised section 10721 rates may be appropriate:

(i) Volume shipments are expected.

(ii) Shipments will be made on a recurring basis between two designated locations, and a substantial savings can be attained even though a volume movement is not involved. (FAR 47.104-1)

6. Routing of Freight.

A. Standard Routing Principle. In the application of the standard routing principle, the major factors to be considered are, in the order of their importance: (1) date shipment is due at destination, (2) satisfactory carrier service, (3) overall cost considerations and (4) distribution of traffic among carriers.

B. Service Requirements. The following factors shall be considered in determining whether a carrier or mode of transportation can meet an agency's service requirements for each individual shipment:

(1) Availability and suitability of carrier equipment.

(2) Shipping and receiving facilities at origin and destination.

(3) Pickup and/or delivery service (including inside pickup or delivery), if required.

(4) Availability of required accessorial and special services, if needed.

(5) Estimated transit time.

(6) Record of past performance of the carrier.

C. Cost Considerations. Carriers tariffs generally provide for pickup and delivery service. Freight (truckload, less than truckload, air freight) is picked up at the shipper's door and is delivered to the consignee's door. Charges for this service are generally included in the rate. When a carrier's tariff does not include pickup and delivery service, charges for these services can be obtained from the origin carrier.

7. Reconsignment or Diversion of Freight is a privilege extended by the carrier in which a shipper may (after his freight has been picked up by the carrier but before delivery at destination) authorize changes in the shipping instructions.

A. Reconsignment (diversion) will mean to: (1) Change the name of consignor or consignee; (2) Change place of delivery within original destination point; (3) Change the destination point; or (4) Return the shipment to origin.

B. Procedure to Effect Reconsignment. Reconsignment may be requested orally by telephone, but must be confirmed in writing. If the shipment is tendered on a Government Bill of Lading, this is accomplished by the use of Standard Form 1200, Government Bill of Lading Correction Notice. Copies of SF 1200 should be completed by the is suing officer and promptly mailed to the carrier, the new consignee, and other parties of the distribution process. (See Figure 2). When a commercial bill of lading is used, a letter to the carrier authorizing reconsignment shall be required of the issuing officer.