eGov/Mil Newsletter: January 30, 2015

January 30, 2015

In this Issue:

  • IAM Meets with SDDC
  • SDDC Releases Message Regarding Port Congestion
  • West Coast Negotiators Reach Chassis Deal
  • News from the Daycos Weblog
  • Obama Seeks to End Sequestration Cuts in New Budget
  • DOD & Government Personal Property News & Notes
  • Registration Open for Regional IAM & ILN Meeting in Belfast
  • Renewal time! Pay your membership dues online to meet Jan. 31 deadline

IAM Meets with SDDC

On Jan. 28, IAM Staff (Terry Head and Charles White), IAM Chairman Peg Wilken, and Vice Chairman, Tim Helenthal, met for almost three and a half hours with the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) Director of Personal Property, Capt. Aaron K. Stanley, and key staff members at SDDC’s offices at Scott Air Force Base. A wide array of issues was discussed.

The dialogue opened with a lengthy discussion regarding SDDC’s decision to stop allowing TSP-initiated calls to the Helpdesk on behalf of military transferees in order for them to complete their Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSS). The Association is very concerned that this decision is causing a dramatic drop in the CSS response rate from military members. Coupled with that concern is the fear that the drop in response rates will also cause a drop in the mean scores for the three Defense Personal Property Program (DP3) Markets.

We expressed to Capt. Stanley that the anecdotal evidence received by the Association, since the decision was made in mid-December to no longer allow TSP-initiated calls, indicates a drop in the CSS response rate in the 25 to 50 percent range or possibly even higher. In a program that is touted as a “best value” procurement, we find this very troubling. We asked that SDDC begin to monitor a variety of metrics surrounding the CSS and in a spirit of transparency provide that data on a regular basis so that the industry and SDDC can quantify exactly what effect the changes in the CSS collection methodology (removal of the encrypted link to the survey and taking away the TSP-initiated calls) is having on both the CSS response rate and the CSS mean score by market.

Part of the System Response Center (SRC)/Helpdesk contract is for them to call a minimum of 500 transferees per day on behalf of TSPs that have not achieved a statistically valid number of CSS responses. Concerns/questions have been raised about the lack of transparency regarding how decisions are made about which members to call and the rubric or script used by SRC personnel to walk military members through the questioning. Is the SRC ensuring that all calls are placed to members that have moved in the last 12 months so that any survey collected is indeed valid? Is the same process used by each of the SRC personnel? Is any “coaching” involved in the questioning process? These are just some of the questions that have been raised by industry.

SDDC staff indicated that they would be discussing these questions with the SRC and would also raise other suggestions we proposed, such as allowing TSPs to provide lists of customers that they know are willing and ready to complete surveys in hopes that the SRC would prioritize calling those members.

It does not appear that SDDC is willing to consider ever allowing TSP-initiated calls again. The calls overwhelmed the Helpdesk and their personnel were not able to respond to any other type of call in a timely fashion. SDDC seems to be holding out for the new encrypted link that is currently planned to be put into place later this year. That new encrypted link will be sent via email to military transferees at seven, 14 and 21-day intervals after completion of their move. This new link will take the transferee to the DPS login page and after they input their log-in and password they are taken directly to their survey.

The Association is skeptical that this will have much of a positive impact on the CSS response rate because members still must maintain their login and password in order to complete the survey. Experience has told us that this is rare and that for a member to proactively go into DPS to complete a survey is also rare. We feel that that this new encrypted link will have little positive impact in increasing the CSS response rate.

The second area of discussion dealt with myriad issues surrounding short-fuse shipments.

  • The issue of almost 20 percent or more of all shipments being short fuse was questioned. SDDC promised to review this with the military services to see what improvements in the high number of short fuse shipments can be made.
  • The question on when the peak season 10-day criteria for short fuse would be introduced and removed was discussed but no definitive dates have been set.
  • In conjunction with the discussion on the 10-day short fuse was a discussion on when Software Change Request (SCR) 6975 would be introduced. SCR 6975 is the system change that would allow refused shipments to automatically move to the next TSP in line as a new award without any Personal Property Shipping Office (PPSO) personnel involvement. The current DPS schedule shows 6975 being introduced into the system in May. However, indications are that the current timeline is behind schedule so there are few guarantees that 6975 will be in place during the 2015 peak season. That seems to indicate that the 10-day short fuse window will be longer rather than shorter during 2015.
  • SDDC continues to monitor the issue raised concerning the possible manipulation of a loophole in the Short Fuse click count where it appears some TSP groups may be taking advantage of the loophole to garner a large percentage of short fuse shipments. SDDC has requested a new SCR, which will allow them greater visibility into all manner of clicks and would remove the perceived loophole in the system. No timetable is set for the introduction of that new SCR.

SDDC has previously indicated that there was a possibility of holding an Intrastate Open Season in 2015. This topic led to a lively discussion regarding what such an open season would entail. Though SDDC has not set any parameters in concrete so far, the discussion at the meeting centered on the fact that this process would likely begin sometime toward the end of peak season, possibly around August. The open season may also include a requalification of current intrastate approved TSPs with particular interest in those that have intrastate authority in states where they are not domiciled and have no physical presence in that state.

It seems that it may be possible during this open season/requalification for some intrastate TSPs operating in states with low shipment volumes and a high number of TSPs to actually lose DOD approval to operate in that state.

At this point it does not seem that SDDC has set the criteria that will be used to determine which new entities will be allowed into the program but it does appear that SDDC may be more open to considering a wider range of applicants than was done in the previous open season in 2013.

The SDDC staff does believe that more regular open season and requalification periods for all markets are in the offing for the future.

SDDC is reviewing the language in the Qualifications Document (Pam 55-4) regarding a DOD-approved company’s change in ownership process. Specifically the SDDC Judge Advocate General (JAG) staff has this language under review. In the past the Change of Ownership Novation process has been very much a seamless process. In recent months SDDC has been examining changes in ownership more closely. It is possible that new language regarding this process and what is necessary to gain SDDC authorization on the sale of a DOD-approved entity will come forward. It was stated by SDDC staff that a “company cannot sell a DOD approval.” It is just that a “DOD approval” and only DOD can grant the transfer of that approval to another entity.

The 2015 Defense Personal Property Program (DP3) Rate Filing scheduled to begin Feb. 1 may be postponed. We learned at the meeting that there are some internal DOD issues with the new rate filing module that may cause SDDC to either delay the implementation of the new module or possibly revert to the old Manugistics module which has been used in the past. SDDC is supposed to issue a formal announcement on Jan. 30 regarding the disposition of the 2015 rate filing.

Other topics discussed briefly at the meeting:

  • Base Access – There is a strong possibility that a DOD-wide memorandum will be issued in the next few months dictating that the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) is an acceptable identification and will be approved for access at all DOD installations.
  • Port Congestion – IAM has been updating SDDC for some time on the issues associated with the port congestion problems at the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and many other West Coast ports. The SDDC Personal Property Directorate and SDDC in general are aware of the problems. SDDC Personal Property is planning to issue a message soon to educate the PPSOs and to direct both TSPs and PPSO on the options available to them to help mitigate any problems that result from the congestion.
  • Driver issues – Shortages and Hours of Service changes were discussed.
  • Alcohol in shipments – A Joint Services Team (JST) continues to work this issue. We have no resolution at this time.
  • Spring Personal Property Forum (PPF) – No determination has been made as to whether SDDC will move to only having a single PPF per year. There is a chance that there will be a spring PPF in the National Capitol area (Washington, DC) in early April, but that has not yet been determined.

Source: IAM & SDDC

SDDC Releases Message Regarding Port Congestion

SDDC issued the following message on Jan. 26 regarding the port congestion issues at the U.S. West Coast ports. This was not a message issued by the Personal Property Directorate, so it is not aimed specifically at DOD household shipments but it does indicate an awareness by SDDC to the issued faced by TSPs moving cargo through those areas.

We have learned that SDDC Personal Property has a message drafted and plans to issue that message shortly.

Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command

Customer/Carrier Advisory

January 26, 2015

CA-15-01/26-0010

Subject: Port Issues at West Coast Ports

Purpose: To inform shippers and carriers of the West Coast Shipping Challenges

Be Advised: Due to labor challenges, contract disputes, and heavy truck volume, it is necessary to allow RDD concessions to drivers picking up and delivering freight to/from West Coast Ports. TSP’s are incurring increasingly long wait times of 12 hours or more to gain terminal entry for port operations.

APL and Maersk are off schedule by at least 12-15 days and could be delayed further due to labor issues in all West Coast ports.

Due to the current port congestion, Defense Distribution San Joaquin, CA. (DDSP) is experiencing significant port delays with DLA consumables support.

Affected regional commissaries will experience some perishable food shortages due to bad weather, shipping delays, and port congestions. Additionally, household goods and all other cargo shipments are facing significant delays due to operational issues, cargo spikes, chassis shortages, and service issues on the intermodal rail networks.

SDDC, USTRANSCOM, and the Services are working diligently to address these challenges; however, we recommend shippers plan accordingly and consider alternate sourcing/routing to minimize delays.

To ensure support to US Troops, the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) leadership agreed to prioritize APL's US Flag vessels during night operations at LA/Long Beach. Efforts are also underway to reach a similar agreement for Oakland seaports. It may take several weeks before we see the impacts of this agreement, but it is a start in the right direction.

SDDC POCs: Users requiring assistance can contact SDDC G9 Strategic Supplier Relationship Management Division (618) 220-6470; G3 (618) 220-6912 and Personal Property (618) 220-5406 or 6789; by email contact SDDC G9 at: usarmy.scott.sddc.mbx.carrier-registrations@mail.mil

Expiration: N/A

West Coast Negotiators Reach Chassis Deal

West Coast port contract negotiators have reached an agreement on how to handle chassis-related issues, raising hopes for a tentative contract agreement.

The issue of chassis maintenance and repair was resolved in talks between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association.

PMA spokesman Wade Gates told TT that “a tentative agreement was reached on the chassis topic, and we are hopeful that this will allow us to move toward conclusion of an agreement in the near term.”

Read the Full Story

News from the Daycos Weblog

Both stories below are from Daycos most recent newsletter. You can read the full articles there.

IT-15 / 400NG-15 Updates

In mid-December, the 400NG-15 and IT-15 tariffs were posted on SDDC's website. We hadn't anticipated any factors that would indicate any major changes to be included, and upon initial review, it appears the trend from the last few years has stayed consistent with the 2015 tariffs, with minimal billing-related updates being found.

One item that TSPs should note is a rate increase of just under 2.5% for items listed on the baseline rate table within the 400NG-15.  While the increase percentage is small, it is still something to account for when rate filing begins next week.

Read the Full Story

Use of Foreign Flag Carriers for DOS Air Cargo Shipments

Department of State (DOS) has started strictly enforcing the requirement that TSPs provide a foreign flag waiver for air cargo shipments they are servicing when they move between the US and a country with whom there is no air transport agreement. The RFO gives a quick reference of the current participants in the Fly America Act. Due to their level of participation, moves between the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Australia, Switzerland, Japan, and the European Union do not require foreign flag waivers.

Read the Full Story

Obama Seeks to End Sequestration Cuts in New Budget

President Barack Obama will seek to bust through spending limits for both domestic and defense programs, the White House said Thursday, negating the effects of across-the-board cuts agreed to by both Democrats and Republicans and signed by Obama into law.

Obama's budget proposal to Congress will "fully reverse" the so-called sequestration cuts on the domestic side, while boosting national security programs by an equal amount, the White House said, as Obama prepared to meet with House Democrats at their annual retreat in Philadelphia. The budget will be "fully paid for with cuts to inefficient spending programs and closing tax loopholes," but taxpayers will have to wait until the budget is formally released Monday to find out exactly how.

Read the Full Story

DOD & Government Personal Property News & Notes

U.S. Flag Service

It has been confirmed with both Maersk and APL that there is no longer a U.S. flag routing from Seattle/Tacoma to Korea. Neither APL nor Maersk have had a direct U.S. flag service to and from the Pacific Northwest (PNW) for a number of years.  However, they both have offered a P2 service to Japan, Korea and Okinawa (APL only).  That is no longer available from either carrier.  As a result, TSPs will have to secure waivers for PNW Korea shipments.

Initially Foreign Flag waivers have been denied because there is service out of Oakland, CA. Moving PNW freight out of Oakland is cost prohibitive and IAM will be working with SDDC regarding Foreign Flag waiver request in this shipping lane.

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If you have questions or need assistance, contact Carl.Weaver@IAMovers.org.

Sources:  IAM, AMSA & SDDC

Registration Open for Regional IAM & ILN Meeting in Belfast

** Editor’s Note: IAM’s Director of Government & Military Relations will participate in this meeting and hold a session related to current U.S. Government and Military issues. The recent announcement regarding the U.S. DOD plans to close it operations at RAF Mildenhall and consolidate many other European operations will be a key discussion item.

IAM is hosting a Regional Meeting in conjunction with the British Association of Removers (BAR) Annual Conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland May 18-20, 2015. The Regional Meeting will include business sessions and networking opportunities for IAM members and the IAM Logistics Network (ILN). Space will be limited and registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Response and space availability will determine the number of attendees.

Before You Register:

  • Cost: The cost to attend the meeting is 520.00 GBP, which includes hotel accommodations for three nights (May 18, 29, and 20) and several meals over the course of three days.
  • Accommodations: The conference hotel is Hotel Europa in Belfast. Note: Your registration fee includes accommodations and books you as a Hotel Europa guest.
  • Meeting Agenda: Review the meeting agenda for the IAM/ILN meeting
  • Meeting Packages: On the registration site, you will see a number of packages for the BAR event, the IAM/ILN event, for both BAR and IAM/ILN and other add-ons.
  • Attendees: See a combined list of BAR and IAM/ILN attendees.
  • Registration: Register for the Regional IAM / ILN Meeting, on the BAR conference page. Note that when you reach the "Registration Items" screen, scroll down to see the "Full Package for IAM/ILN Seminar" with the corresponding price of 520.00 GBP. Select this item, or one of the choices below it that include add-on BAR events for additional cost.

BAR Conference: The BAR Annual Conference runs from May 21-23, 2015. As always, there will be a varied program of events combining the very best entertainment, business, and opportunities for socializing. BAR is extending a warm invitation to all IAM members to attend so those traveling to Belfast can experience two premier industry conferences in one location

Check the event page for further details on the BAR Conference. For further information or inquiries about the IAM Regional Meeting, contact Brian Limperopulos.

Source: IAM

Renewal time! Pay your membership dues online to meet Jan. 31 deadline

A month ago, IAM emailed membership renewal invoices to all billing contacts, payable by Jan. 31. To meet that due date, we encourage you to pay your company's member dues online. With this one online invoice, you can pay IAM dues, and fees for IAM-YP membership, ILN membership, and International Shippers Association (ISA) membership — all with one credit card transaction.

If this is the first time you've paid online, you must request your login credentials. Just go to the login screen and follow the instructions for "New Customer." IAM will then email your company's login credentials to the email account on record in our database.

To pay membership dues online, using your username and password, go to: the account login page. Once you log in, click on your name and this will take you to the self-service portion of the website. From there, click on “pay open membership invoices” and follow the prompts to renew online.

If you have forgotten or do not have your user name and password, you can retrieve your information.

If you need assistance, email membership@iamovers.org. We appreciate your support and are always here to assist you.

Source: IAM