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Friday, October 20, 2017



Transportation is the master-key to

the world's commerce, and whether in export, import or domestic interchange of commodities, the question of shipping is one of the most vital elements of success. Therefore freight forwarding enterprises which have organized an effective general service for sending freights by the safest, most reliable and most direct routes, having connections and facilities that make deliveries certain, have gained and hold a strong position as invaluable factors in successful commerce. An organization of this kind, which for more than two-score years has served the commercial public in this field with marked ability, is that of the Judson Freight Forwarding Company.

The story of the development of the Judson Freight Forwarding Company during the twenty- three years of its existence is an interesting one, and would seem to indicate that a conscientious effort to give fair value in the way of service for money received is highly appreciated by the shipping public.

The Judson Freight Forwarding Company was organized in 1896 by Mr. Robert Somerville, who has been the president and active head of the organization since that time. The wide experience of Mr. Somerville in railroad traffic brought about almost immediate success to the company in its domestic shipping business. When the company was first organized it was with the intention of conducting what was termed a Tourist Service. With this idea in view, a personally conducted Tourist Sleeping Car Service was established between Boston and San Francisco, also Los Angeles, Calif. This was prior to the time when through sleeping cars were operated from Eastern to Western points, and the service made an immediate success.

Shortly after this service was established it occurred to Mr. Somerville that a field had been opened for the consolidation of household goods and personal effects of the tourists, and by the use of this consolidated or pool car arrangement the different shippers would have an opportunity to forward their individual shipments with other shipments in a full carload, which would naturally mean the goods would be properly stowed in the car at point of origin and would go through to the Pacific Coast without breaking bulk and, as a consequent result, would eliminate largely the question of breakage or damage to the goods.

The main feature, however, was that by using the pool car service the different shippers who had shipments in the car would get the benefit of the carload rate between point of origin and destination instead of the less than carload rate, which meant a large saving in freight cost. The Judson Freight Forwarding Company made a small charge for their services in assembling the goods, loading them properly into cars and having their own agents on the Pacific Coast distribute the various shipments to the proper consignees on arrival.

The shipping of household goods and personal effects in the manner as outlined above is still an active part of the company's business between various points in the United States, but in addition thereto the company is operating consolidated cars of domestic freight, such as paper, drugs and chemicals, machinery, etc., between various points in the United States. Besides this service in domestic transportation, the company is also oper-ating consolidated cars of export shipments, moving via Overland and Pacific to Far Eastern countries and also, via New York, for shipment via the Atlantic Ocean, and also the Panama Canal, to various foreign countries.

Mr. David Bowes, vice-president and general manager of the company, was formerly connected with the same railroad company as was Mr. Somerville prior to the organization of the Judson Freight Forwarding Company, and early associated himself with Mr. Somerville in that company; in fact, they have been more or less associated together in business for over thirty-five years. To Mr. Bowes belongs a large share of the credit in the development of the domestic business. The increasing business necessitated the establishment of offices in Boston, Mass., St. Louis, Mo., San Francisco and Los Angeles, Calif, in addition to the parent office located at Chicago. As the business developed offices were established in the following other cities New York, N. Y.,

Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Pa., Baltimore, Md., New Orleans, La., Detroit, Mich., and Seattle, Wash.

Toward the latter part of the year 1910 Charles A. Hall and Stuart J. Steers, of New York, approached Mr. Somerville and proposed to him the establishment of an export business in connection with the domestic business of the company, demonstrating to Mr. Somerville their ability to build up such a business. Messrs. Hall and Steers having early in their business career been connected with railroad and steamship lines were expert in railroad and steamship matters, a rare combination possessed by very few men in the shipping world.

Having convinced Mr. Somerville of the wide field to be opened up on the plans they proposed, a New York office was opened early in January, 1911. At that time the office force consisted of Messrs. Hall and Steers and one stenographer, while at the present time the New York office alone gives employment to eighty people, and the total number of employes in the various offices includes over two hundred and fifty people, the Judson Freight Forwarding Company being one of the largest, if not the largest, of the forwarding companies in the United States today.

As previously stated, the company in its early existence specialized in the handling of what is termed domestic freight, i.e., the handling of domestic carload shipments of household goods, etc., between eastern and western points in the United States, but on the opening of the New York office a consolidated carload service was established by which means freight destined to China, Japan, Manila and Australia was moved from New York, also from Chicago via overland in connection with trans-Pacific steamers from the ports of San Francisco, Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver. Messrs. Hall and Steers were loyally supported by their many export friends, and as a result the successful development of the company in the export business was assured, and with these two men rests the credit for building up for the company the large export business which they now enjoy.

Shortly after the establishment of the New York office it became apparent that it would be necessary to have in the parent office at Chicago a man thoroughly posted in railroad and steamship matters, and in searching for such man Mr. Somerville was fortunate in securing for the position Mr. Walter J. Riley, of Chicago. He was then in charge of the foreign freight department of the Denver & Rio Grande and Western Pacific Railways. At Mr. Somerville's request, Mr. Riley became associated with the company as manager of the export department at the Chicago office, and to Mr. Riley belongs the lion's share of the credit for the large export business that has been developed in Chicago and contiguous territory.

The progress of the Judson Freight Forwarding Company has been phenomenal but not sensational, but the company today occupies a leading position as foreign freight forwarders, and freight brokers, while many of its competitors who were established many years previous have not attained any such success. This, no doubt, is due to the fact that the organization of the Judson Freight Forwarding Company is a thoroughly progressive one, producing a satisfactory service and thus continually building up its clientele.

The company maintains exceptional warehouse facilities, generally located on railroad sidings of the standard railroad lines, which enables the company to efficiently consolidate and distribute carloads for shippers or consignees.

The financial standing of the company is very high, their principal bankers being The Continental and Commercial Bank of Chicago, the International Bank and the Battery Park National Bank of New York and the Shawmut Bank in Boston.

If the development of this company during the past twenty-three years of its existence can be accepted as a criterion, it may be fairly expected that it will become, before many years elapse, the largest freight forwarding organization in the world. It has agencies at all principal foreign ports, and its experience, its international connections, its earnest purpose and practice of making service the central objective of all its operations, give assurance of prosperity and extended prestige.

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