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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. American Union Transport, Inc., 327 U.S. 437 (1946)

United States v. American Union Transport, Inc.

No. 44

Argued October 11, 1945

Decided February 25, 1946

327 U.S. 437


1. A forwarder of freight for transshipment by common carriers by water in foreign commerce, although not contractually or corporately affiliated with a common carrier by water, held to be "carrying on the business of forwarding . . . in connection with a common carrier by water," hence an "other person subject to this Act" within the meaning of § 1 of the Shipping Act of 1916, and therefore subject to the regulatory provisions of that Act. Pp. 327 U. S. 441, 327 U. S. 443.

2. The conclusion that independent forwarders are subject to the Act's regulatory provisions is supported by the broad terms of

Page 327 U. S. 438

its definition of "other person subject to this Act;" by the policy implicit in the scheme of regulation; by the legislative history, and by the decision in California v. United States, 320 U. S. 577. P. 327 U. S. 443.

3. A different conclusion is not required by the fact that the administrative agencies had not previously exercised jurisdiction over such forwarders, nor by the history of interstate commerce legislation affecting nonwater transportation, nor by judicial decisions relating to that legislation. Pp. 327 U. S. 454-455.

4. The fact that no question is involved of the use of forwarders by carriers to evade regulation gives no basis for relieving independent forwarders from the Act's provisions. P. 327 U. S. 456.

5. The wisdom of regulating forwarders -- with the corresponding restriction of competitive freedom in the business -- is a question for Congress, not the court. P. 327 U. S. 457.


Appeal from a decree of a district court of three judges, enjoining enforcement of an order of the Maritime Commission. See 55 F.Supp. 682. Reversed, p. 327 U. S. 457.

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