eGov/Mil Newsletter: April 23, 2015
In this Issue:
- No Problems Surface After the Latest DPS Release
- First SDDC 2015 Peak Season Teleconference Summary
- AUSA President: Cuts Take Army in 'The Wrong Direction'
- Pacific Ports Agreement Clears FMC Review
- Maritime Commission Looking at Unreasonable Port Fees for Carriers
- Congress Struggles to Find Highway Funding
- IAM Regional Meeting - Limited Availability!
- DOD & Government Personal Property News & Notes
- Services Look to Expand Background Checks at Gates
- Port Update: Truck Volume Clogging East Coast Ports, Congestion Eases on West Coast
Editor’s Note: The following item was posted in the IAM Social Café on Apr. 21.
Late Friday evening, April 17, DPS Release 2.1.0 was introduced into the system. Most of the DPS Releases in the last few years have caused unexpected problems, sometimes major ones, in areas of the Defense Personal Property System (DPS), which may not have even been directly affected by the Release.
This time, at least for the first few days, things seem to be working properly following the release. The 2.1.0 release focused on updates to the Personally Procured Moves (PPM) aspect of the system as well as updates to the functionality dealing with Professional Books, Papers and Equipment (PBP&E). Neither of those have a great deal to do with any of the TSP functionality in DPS but, as we have seen in the past that has little to do with unforeseen issues that typically arise after these kinds of updates.
The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) also conducted an annual password reset as well on Friday. This just added to the angst experienced by the industry in the roll up to the release.
We view this recent success as a positive sign. The industry's recent experiences with the new DPS rate filing module and the problems associated with the release of the new Traffic Distribution Lists (TDL) for the May 15, 2015 Performance Period really raised the anxiety level when the 2.1.0 Release was announced. This appears to be a step forward. But this is just is a small step. There are other DPS updates planned for the coming months and for industry to reach any kind of comfort level with the release of new functionality into DPS the successes need to continue.
We understand that the DPS Program Management Office (PMO) has three releases scheduled in the next three months:
- Release 2.1.1 – May 8 – Windows Servers Upgrades
- Release 2.2.0 – June 12 – Windows Servers Upgrades/Tech Refreshes. We understand that if any problems surfaced with these server (hardware) upgrades the PMO does have the ability to “rollback” to the old servers.
- Release 2.3.0 – 31 July (estimated) – This is going to be the biggest release in recent memory and it will include Software Change Request (SCR) 6975. That is the long requested functionality that allows refused shipments to automatically roll to the next TSP for award without any Transportation Office (T.O.) personnel intervention (too bad it’s being introduced so late). It also includes the new encrypted Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSS) link and a number of other Software Change Requests (SCRs). There is still not a firm date for this Release.
These releases are scheduled during the Peak Season which has been problematic in the past but if we are able to get through these next three Releases with few, if any, glitches we may start to feel very differently about the future success of DPS. But the possibility of success, based on our past experiences with DPS, still seems a long way off.
Source: IAM & SDDC
Editor’s Note: The following item is excerpted from an update which was provided to the IAM Executive Committee on Apr. 16, following the first Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) Peak Season teleconference. These calls will be held on a weekly basis through the end of the 2015 Peak Season.
The briefing slides referenced in the summary will soon be available, in an adjusted form, on the SDDC website.
The Peak Season calls are beginning at least two weeks earlier than we normally have seen. For that reason SDDC is still adjusting the slides to better fit the new paradigm of no shipment refusals. Some of the slides have little meaning particularly when it comes to referencing refusal levels. Most of those slides will be adjusted to deal with Blackout frequency vs. refusals. That was on big reason that Lt Col Erhardt did not go through every slide but focused the discussion on the current PPSO and industry environments. He wanted to get a better feel for the current workloads being experienced by each of the stakeholders. In general I would say that most of the participants on the call felt that the workload had still not ramped up to full Peak Season levels and that this was the quiet before the storm.
Capacity concerns moving forward were a major topic of discussion especially in light of the ever increasing level of Blackouts. At this point the Intrastate channels (Region 15) were the biggest concern raised by the JPPSOs. Virginia, Nevada, Florida and a few other intra channels are already experiencing major Blackout levels and there are serious concerns about capacity in those states.
About 15,000 shipments have been booked for the Peak Season (May 15 – August 31) at this point. Last year about 153,000 shipments were booked during that timeframe. So we have only seen about 10% of the Peak Season booking thus far.
It appears there is a huge push for Code 2 service. Even though the early numbers don’t indicate it both the Army and the Marine Corps have put out communications through SDDC regarding a Code 2 push and the specific parameters to focus on when targeting shipments for Code 2. Many of the PPSOs on the call indicated they are going to try to push Code to early and often moving forward. IAM and AMSA expressed some concern that TSPs have heard this message before and it never came to fruition. The messaging on this initiative may have come too late to be truly effective. All agreed that the agent availability and the liftvan capacity may be lacking to truly have the impact the Services are looking for. But both Army and Marine Corps reps encouraged the JPPSOs regarding the use of Code 2.
SDDC has sent out some costing data to the Services on Code 2, with more to follow. The main point is that in many cases Code 2 is not as expensive as the Services had once thought. The point was also made that this is a Best Value and not low cost program so even if there is a difference in cost that should not be the driving factor in determining whether or not to use Code 2.
Finally, SDDC is issuing a survey to the PPSOs through the Service HQs. This survey is going to be used to determine what SDDC and the Services can do to improve DP3 from their perspective.
Groups represented on the call:
- IAM & AMSA
- U.S. Transportation Command
- DPS PMO
- Army HQ
- Army Personal Property Lead Element (APPLE)
- Army Sustainment Command (ASC)
- Air Force
- Air Force Personal Property Activity (AFPPA HQ)
- Naval Supply (NAVSUP) Global Logistics Support
- Navy HQ
- Norfolk PPSO
- Marine Corps HQ
- Coast Guard HQ
Sources: IAM & SDDC
AUSA President: Cuts Take Army in 'The Wrong Direction'
Gordon Sullivan has been around the block a time or two. Enough so that he’s troubled by the Army’s plan for deep force cuts, coupled by the possibility of sequestration-level federal budget reductions in 2016, at a time of increasing global security threats.
Sullivan — a retired Army general who as president of the Association of the United States Army goes to bat for soldiers on Capitol Hill — thinks servicemembers ought to be better compensated. He’s yet to formulate an opinion on a proposed 401(k)-style pension plan for troops.
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) announced today that after review it voted unanimously to allow the Pacific Ports Operational Improvements Agreement (FMC Agreement No. 201227) to become effective on April 17, 2015. The Commission’s review included evaluation of information received from the agreement parties in response to questions raised by staff and Commissioners during the review period; removal of agreement authority to address Commission concerns, including proposed authority to impose fees and charges on third parties; as well as consideration of public comments submitted on the Agreement.
The pending Agreement between the Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association (FMC Agreement No. 011284), the West Coast MTO Agreement (FMC No. 201143), and almost every vessel-operating carrier and marine terminal operator serving U.S. West Coast ports, would authorize the parties to discuss and exchange information, and reach agreement on measures to address and improve efficiency of operations at U.S. West Coast port facilities to reduce congestion.
"Given the exigent circumstances related to congestion, this agreement’s effectiveness is timely. Through this Agreement, the parties seek to address issues that could help to alleviate the congestion that is plaguing U.S. Pacific Coast ports. While the agreement has great potential to achieve this goal, the Commission will closely monitor the activities of the agreement to identify emerging 6(g) concerns and act quickly should it become necessary. As the primary gateways for trade between the U.S. and Asia, the ports along the U.S. Pacific Coast play an important role in ensuring the efficient flow of goods in and out of the United States. This Agreement is an example of supply chain participants cooperating and working together under the authority of the Shipping Act to improve port productivity, innovation, and efficiency." said Chairman Cordero.
Maritime Commission Looking at Unreasonable Port Fees for Carriers
The Federal Maritime Commission has released a report on detention and demurrage fees and is seeking documentation on such fees from its carriers and shippers nationwide. The FMC has also approved the Pacific Ports Agreement to allow efforts to reduce West Coast port congestion to continue.
The commission approved the agreement April 15 between the Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association, the West Coast Marine Terminal Operator Agreement and almost every vessel-operating carrier and marine terminal operator in West Coast ports. Effective April 17, it would permit these parties to discuss and reach agreement on ways to reduce West Coast port congestion.
Congress Struggles to Find Highway Funding
Lawmakers from both parties agree that the nation's crumbling highways and bridges urgently need fixing. The question is, how should it be paid for?
The government's ability to provide money to the states from the federal Highway Trust Fund will expire on May 31 unless Congress acts. The fund reimburses states for the cost of highway improvements and mass transit projects.
The IAM Regional Meeting is now less than 6 weeks away. Book your places now as rooms are running out! Rooms are subject to availability.
The IAM Regional Meeting will take place May 18-20, with the BAR Annual Conference May 21-23. Book your places for the Regional Meeting and register through the BAR Conference website.
The IAM/ILN meeting boasts a packed agenda; here are some highlights:
- General Sessions that include a Global Business Outlook presented by IAM President Terry Head, and examination of customs issues, port congestion, and more
- A segment led by IAM Senior VP Chuck White on U.S. Department of Defense plans to close operations at RAF Mildenhall and consolidate other European operations
- Logistics Presentations and Panel, including how IAM/ILN members are successfully diversifying and capturing this business
- Plus, no less than four scheduled opportunities devoted to networking
The venue for both the IAM/ILN and BAR meetings is the Hotel Europa in Belfast. See details for conference registration and what is included in the fee. For further information or inquiries about the IAM Regional Meeting, contact Brian Limperopulos at email@example.com.
Before You Register:
- Agenda: Learn more about the Meeting Agenda
- Cost: The cost to attend the IAM/ILN meeting is 520.00 GBP, which includes hotel accommodations for three nights (May 18, 19, 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 automatically books you as a Hotel Europa guest.
- 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. To review the options before registering, go to Packages
- Attendees: For a combined list of BAR and IAM/ILN attendees, go to Attendees
- Registration: To register for the Regional IAM / ILN Meeting, click on the link below or from 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.
SDDC Increases DPS Click Counts….Again!
In advisory #15-0082, SDDC increased the allowable DPS Click Counts for the second time in recent weeks. It appears that the first increase from the normal 200 clicks per hour to 300 clicks per hour did not significantly decrease the performance level of DPS so a decision was made to further increase the click count to 400 clicks per hour.
For Peak Season 2015, TSPs were encouraged to use the robust DPS blackout capabilities to blackout dates by market, GBLOC (Government Bill of Lading Office Code), channel, “ZIP3”, code of service, and other combinations as needed. To facilitate TSP blackout entries and accommodate increased DPS user activities, we are increasing the system click counts from 300 clicks per page/per hour (see SDDC-PP Advisory # 15-0067) to 400 clicks per page/per hour.
NOTE: Short fuse shipment click counts will remain at 100 clicks per hour, per SCAC (Standard Carrier Alpha Code). For reference, link to HQ SDDC Advisory 15-0035 (short fuse shipment policy) or access SDDC’s Personal Property Public Page http://www.sddc.army.mil/PP/default.aspx.
Fuel Surcharge for Period 4/15/15 to 5/14/15
The price of fuel was $2.78 per gallon as reported on Monday, April 6, 2015 making the upcoming FSC rates for the period 4/15/15 through 5/14/15 as follows:
GBL Domestic HHG / International HHG – 3%
GSA Domestic HHG – $0.00
GSA International HHG and BAG – $0.00
NOTE – You are reading correct above, there is NO fuel surcharge applicable for the specified period. The baseline rate that is used to calculate the fuel surcharge adjustment is $2.999. With the reported cost of fuel now below that baseline amount, a fuel adjustment does not apply.
Sources: IAM & SDDC
Services Look to Expand Background Checks at Gates
U.S. military bases and ports are increasingly interested in using a small, hand-held device able to quickly scan various forms of identification, check them against a wide range of existing data bases and instantly determine who should or should not be let past security and into the facility.
Gate security re-entered the spotlight after the March 30 incident at Fort Meade, Md., where an SUV with two men tried to ram into the National Security Agency gate.
Port Update: Truck Volume Clogging East Coast Ports, Congestion Eases on West Coast
U.S. retail ports are experiencing an upswing in import volume while West Coast dockworkers diminish a freight backlog and ratify a new labor agreement.
Last week, morning commuters encountered longer than usual truck lines on the New Jersey Turnpike Extension. Construction on the Bayonne Bridge may be partly to blame, but state officials indicated the problem stems from truckers waiting to get in the Global Marine Terminal at Bayonne/Jersey City.