USTC J9 COVID-19 Call (14 Jul)

July 15, 2020

On today’s J9 call (14 July), J9 started out by walking through the read-ahead slides. The data showed an increase in unpaid invoices.  The J9 briefer noted the increase and stated it might be due to Syncada problems in the recent past; and due to the increase in the overall volume of invoices to process. 


Week 28 pick ups equaled 61% of the three year average. Shipments moved year to date equal 67.9% of what was moved by this time in 2019; and as of this week, DoD has 85% of the 3-year average of peak season shipments in DPS.


It was brought up that many in industry are not seeing the volume of shipments expected being booked right now; and since the median number of days shown between booking to pick up is approximately 21 days, it appears that at best it’s going to be three weeks before we see a significant increase in volume.  We keep hearing about pent up demand, but it just doesn’t appear that the demand is overwhelming right now.  J9 was asked whether there had been a re-assessment of this pent up demand and a decision to delay more of it?


Rick Marsh addressed this issue.  He stated they have consistently tried to advocate for a 9,000 shipment per week limit…but’s really just a goal.  He stated from where he sits, there is no indication that shipping offices are sitting on shipments. 


AF PPA stated that for weeks 30-33, the Personnel staffs were arranging report-no-later-than-dates (RNLTD) in accordance with the Air Force’s “allotment” of 27% of the 9,000 shipments per week.  They stated the AF broke that percent in weeks 26-29 but trying to abide by it in the future.  The outlier from the AF’s assessment is personally procured moves (PPM) and seeing how many members will chose to move themselves instead of moving via DP3.  They do not believe it will be a large number, but it remains to be seen.  AF believes we’ll see the shipping numbers climb; but the delay right now might just be that members are not going into shipping offices to move their shipments; but AF stated that members have their orders, and suspect they will start flowing into PPSOs soon. 


The Army stated their personnel staffs have given members a 50 day window around their RNLTD, and the Army is saying we should see consistently higher numbers of moves than normal through August.


The Navy stated their personnelists tell them we should see a higher than normal number of moves through November. The Marines stated their Personnel departments asked for some leeway to move more shipments in July, but will flatten out their numbers over the next two months for consistency, but the overall shipment numbers should not decrease. 


J9 mentioned, per slide 3, they continue to see a drop off in refusals and blackout ratios; they stated they are a bit surprised at this…but based on industry feedback that capacity is opening and that many have said they aren’t seeing the booking volume, that would explain fewer refusals. 


With that in mind, J9 stated, in accordance with the Short Fuse expansion advisory, Monday will begin the contraction of short fuse days back to five.  Per the advisory: “Effective 20 July 2020, USTRANSCOM will start reducing the number of short-fuse days from 10 government business days (GBDs) back to the normal 5 GBDs, one day at a time, so that on 24 July the
normal 5 GBDs short-fuse window will be in effect.”


Slide 4 shows fewer overall suspensions, cumulatively for the season.  The COVID-related punitive actions show 14 suspensions this week…10 due to face coverings, 4 due to health protocol certifications.


There have been 6 cases of potential COVID exposures reported since last week; all 6 are from industry.  The Marines stated they are aware of 9 COVID cases since they started tracking; and when they reach out to Marines on these cases, all have said they had not received notification of the exposure from the shipping office “or the TSP”.  J9 stated their experience is that TSPs have been very proactive in reporting COVID cases when made aware of their workers being diagnosed or exposed to COVID, and reiterated that the TSP is NOT to contact the customer about this; but that the responsibility to notify the customer is with the DoD (per guidance in advisory 20-0095).  As a reminder, that advisory states: “If a TSP becomes aware of an employee(s) or company representative who tests positive for COVID-19 at any time, the following information must be immediately provided by phone and email to USTRANSCOM, the associated Military Service Headquarters, and servicing PPSO.”


IAM asked whether J9 was aware of recent COVID cases on board vessels Philadelphia Express and St. Louis Express.  J9 stated they were aware, and the same protocols for these vessels (in terms of DoD HHG shipments) would apply as they did for the Maersk Idaho (essentially a one for one slip in RDD and responsibility for inconvenience claim to coincide with how late the vessel is to the appropriate port beyond the original scheduled arrival). 


J9 asked for any instances of installation access problems since last week.  No inputs were provided.


IAM asked about the status of reweigh guidance to clarify what is in the IT20; and guidance on how the 24 hour advance notice is supposed to work in practice for international shipments.  J9 acknowledged both issues raised, and said they were still working answers.


Dan Wolfert of the Navy thanked industry for working with him on capacity issues in Hawaii.


AF PPA listed areas where they had no capacity, and wanted industry to be aware that there were business opportunities at the following locations:

  • For short fuse this week, so far no capacity at White Sands NM; Mountain Home, ID; Minot ND; Ft McCoy WI; Davis Monthan AZ; and Blue Grass Army Depot, KY.
  • Short fuse for next week, so far no capacity for Davis Monthan and Blue Grass
  • And shipments for the week after next, Davis Monthan shows no capacity until 1 August.


J9 briefed that they intend to hold the Fall PPF virtually; and they threw out mid-September for a planning factor and asked for any conflicts.  IAM reminded J9 our annual meeting starts around 21 October, and so a mid September date was fine with us.  AF PPA warned that there might be a chance that shipment volumes could still be high at that time, making the ability for robust participation from industry and DoD challenging.  J9 acknowledged, but doesn’t want to back up too much, forcing delayed discussions about potential changes to the TOS too late into the fall. 


Army Sustainment Command (ASC) mentioned they are looking for Code 2 capacity for Ft Hood and Ft Bliss; it appears right now no one is accepting Code 2 shipments in that area.


IAM asked whether J9 had received any guidance yet from OSD on the impacts to the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) requiring acquisitions offices not to award government contracts to companies who use various Chinese technology companies.  This requirement goes into effect 13 Aug 2020; and most of industry and government are not prepared to implement.  Office of Management and Budget has decided that the requirement will remain for 13 Aug 2020; but will only be for prime contractors, not subcontractors.  Subcontractors will be required to certify they do not use the prohibited technology companies by 13 August 2021.  Since any TSP who files rates under DP3 is essentially a prime contractor to the DoD, IAM is trying to get a sense on the impact of this NDAA provision to DP3 approved TSPs.  Per J9, OSD has not yet provided guidance on how DoD will proceed.


Lt Col Lowery stated she continues to look for feedback from industry and JPPSOs on what each are seeing in the field that USTC should be aware of.  Please engage her with major issues/concerns. 


Rick Marsh thanked both TSPs and shipping offices for instances he said he has recently been made aware of where shipments were “going south” and TSPs and shipping offices stepped in to rescue the situation and make the customer feel good about the circumstances, and he appreciates the effort.