CANTON RAILROAD CO. V. ROGAN, 340 U. S. 511 (1951)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Canton Railroad Co. v. Rogan, 340 U.S. 511 (1951)

Canton Railroad Co. v. Rogan

No. 96

Argued November 28-29, 1950

Decided February 26, 1951

340 U.S. 511


Maryland imposes on railroads a franchise tax, measured by gross receipts, apportioned to the length of their lines within the State. Appellant railroad operates, wholly in Baltimore, a marine terminal and rail lines connecting the terminal with trunkline railroads. Its operating revenues are derived from switching freight cars; storage pending forwarding; wharfage; weighing loaded freight cars, and rentals paid by a stevedoring company for the use of a crane.


1. The Import-Export Clause, Art. I, § 10, cl. 2, of the Federal Constitution is not violated by the inclusion, in the gross receipts by which the tax is measured, of revenues derived by appellant from its handling of goods moving in foreign trade. Pp. 340 U. S. 512-515.

(a) The tax in this case is not on the goods, but on the handling of them at the port. Pp. 340 U. S. 513-515.

(b) Since appellant merely rents a crane for loading and unloading, and does not itself do the stevedoring, it is unnecessary to decide whether loading for export and unloading for import are immune from tax under the Import-Export Clause. P. 340 U. S. 515.

(c) Any activity more remote than loading for export and unloading for import does not commence the movement of the commodities abroad, nor end their arrival, and therefore is not a part of the export or import process. P. 340 U. S. 515.

2. The tax is not invalid under the Commerce Clause, since the State may constitutionally impose a nondiscriminatory tax on gross receipts from interstate transportation, apportioned according to mileage within the State. Greyhound Lines v. Mealey, 334 U. S. 653. Pp. 340 U. S. 515-516.

___ Md. ___, 73 A.2d 12, affirmed.

A state franchise tax assessed against appellant was sustained by the State Supreme Court against a challenge that it was invalid under the Federal Constitution. ___ chanrobles.com-red

Page 340 U. S. 512

Md. ___, 73 A.2d 12. On appeal to this Court, affirmed, p 340 U. S. 516.