USTC J9 Peak Season Call (16 July)

July 16, 2020

A summary of today’s Peak Season call with USTC J9 and the Services is presented below. 


A major point of today’s call focused on the apparent disconnect between what DoD sees as continued volume of shipments into August and beyond, with what many in industry see as a drop-off in shipments starting in August that would seem to correspond with a typical drop in volume industry would normally experience in all other years.  There is concern amongst many in industry that the sustained volume into the fall that DoD has touted, is not yet materializing.  At the same time, JPPSOs are reporting a lack of capacity for shipments in July and a general struggle in some areas to get anyone to service their shipments. 


JPPSOs point to slides 27-31 as representing the struggles they are having getting shipments serviced after offering shipments out multiple times.  JPPSO-NE offered that some of the disconnect between their struggles and what industry sees as a drop off in August might come from the Conditions-Based movement scenario where service members are being pushed to AMC airlift for overseas moves, as opposed to the normal commercial rotator.  This has caused some lack of predictability, so members are waiting to book their HHG shipments until they are confident with their port call date, and confirmed on an AMC flight.  This has resulted in many JPPSOs working shipments 4-6 weeks out instead of having members with orders in hand coming to them 90 days out.  As JPPSO-NE stated, they are not seeing the next wave of future shipments, they are largely seeing shipments coming to them with requests to move within the next 30 days.  JPPSO-SC stated that 65% of their shipments right now are for pickups within the next three weeks. Because of that, they are asking to maintain an extended short fuse window to help get those shipments serviced.  JPPSO-MA said they are seeing plenty of capacity issues with international shipments; and their short fuse shipment requests are timing out without being accepted.  JPPSO-NW shared they are not seeing blackouts leading to an allocation error in DPS (in other words all TSPs blacked out an unavailable to take a shipment).  They would much prefer to see the blackouts over continuing to get shipments refused an ultimately not serviced.


While the slides represent a drop off in the refusal and blackout ratios, suggesting available industry capacity, JPPSOs continue to see a strong requirement for short fuse capability.  J9 stated they are meeting with the Services today (16 July) to discuss whether to revert back to the 5-day short fuse window incrementally starting Monday (20 July), or whether to continue with the 10-day short fuse window for the near future.  Data shows that with the expansion of short fuse, approximately 25% of all shipments are being booked through the short fuse process.


Additionally, J9 and the Services will also discuss whether to extend refusals beyond 31 July, to coincide with a peak season that is supposed to extend into the Fall; or whether to end refusals as outlined in the peak season message (31 July).  TSPs are reminded, until further notice, shipments booked right now with a pick up date after 31 July cannot be refused; and if they are will likely result in punitive action.  Various industry reps asked for a continuation of refusals beyond 31 July.  We should hear shortly what DoD decides to do.


The slides reviewed today depict data from week 28.  Slide 2 shows that once again, shipments awarded in week 28 are above the three-year average for this week.  But members counseled dipped slightly below the three-year average for the first time in a number of weeks.


Pick ups currently reflect 42% of the three-year average for week 28, but will continue to grow as DPS is updated.  Week 26 shows about 95% of the three-year average for pick ups; week 27 is over 100% of the average.


Slide 4 reflects capacity concerns as reported by the JPPSOs for the Eastern Seaboard, Texas and Hawaii (see slides 27-31 for details).


Slide 8 shows shipments awarded by market, and reflects above average awards on the international side over the past few weeks.


Slide 12 shows Code 2 shipments continuing to rise in both percent of the domestic market, and in raw numbers. The Army relayed that Ft. Hood cannot get any Code 2 shipments booked, and is looking for industry help in that area. And also noted that while Ft Bragg was able to book Code 2, a number of those shipments are now canceling late by the TSP due to a lack of Code 2 capacity.


Slide 16, impact of refusals, shows that the number of refusals per the number of awarded shipments has dropped…seemingly in direct correlation to what DoD wants. But the DoD reps still sees refusals as causing them additional workload.


Slide 17, Forecast data, in the two dark blue rows (“In Post-Award Compared to Last Year” and “In-Process Compared to Last Year”) shows some of the disconnect between what DoD sees as healthy volume coming in the out weeks; compared to what industry sees in terms of shipments awarded.  “In-Post Award Compared to Last Year” is lagging behind last year’s numbers well out to week 41 (these are shipments awarded to TSPs already).  Whereas shipments in any status…including in self-counseling/counseling and in the PPSO Queue…are above 100% compared to last year, out to week 36 and week 40.  They key will be whether these shipments get moved to “offered”; or remain in a counseling or PPSO queue status and eventually get canceled or moved further to the right.


Slide 20, Peak Season Demand Model, looks different this week, as the Army numbers are only reflected once per month in a shipment spike.  Per J9, this is because the Army provides their data by month, not broken down by week.  In previous weeks, J9 had smoothed those monthly numbers across all weeks in the month; but has since decided to report that data on this slide, as it is reported by the Army to them. 


JPPSO-NE asked for clarification on what is required of a member when they test positive for COVID, before their shipment can be serviced by industry.  JPPSO-NE is hearing that some TSPs/agents are asking for proof that the residence has been cleaned/sanitized before they service the shipment.  It was stated that the requirement is for the member to have a doctor’s note stating they are cleared to move following COVID; but there is no current requirement to provide proof that residence has been cleaned/sanitized.  JPPSO-NE stated that in cases where the industry won’t service a shipment in this scenario, they will mark the shipment as refused by the TSP, move to the next TSP, and take appropriate action.  And if the TSP has a concern with the punitive action, they can appeal it per program rules.


Multiple JPPSOs pleaded with industry to please remain compliant with face covering rules.  JPPSOs stated they do not want to suspend TSPs, they need the capacity; but they continue to see violations of the face covering rules, and will be forced to take action. 


JPPSOs also asked for industry support for updating the Scheduled Delivery Date in DPS per program rules.  Some JPPSOs are seeing challenges in this area, and would appreciate industry cleaning up this aspect.


The Navy mentioned they are seeing capacity constraints for Code 4 in the Southeast for July and the first week of August.  Looking for industry help.


And J9 and the Army were asked about a form that West Point requires the service member to deliver to the crew certifying their health…and whether this is something industry could expect program wide, or Army wide?  J9 stated they’ve been clear on this point, there is no program wide separate form that a service member must provide to the crew certifying their health beyond what is already required in the Health Protections Protocol guidance.  Army did not respond to the question.