USTC J9 Conditions-Based Movement Call (5 Jan)

January 06, 2021

This correspondence is long; but there are quite a few relevant updates below; I recommend you read it in its entirety.

 

TRANSCOM’s Defense Personal Property Management Office (DPMO), also known by their staff designation, J9, started the New Year with the Conditions Based Movement Call.  Per industry requests, J9 is working to add a couple new slides.  They are a work-in-progress at this point.

 

  • Slide 1: Of note, the data presented on slide one shows the historical average for peak season is 196,607 shipments.  This number represents the average over the past three years.  J9 stated for this chart, peak season was defined by the extended peak season from last year.  So peak season shipment average is based on shipments between weeks 20-45.  Typically, peak season is considered to be from weeks 20-35; but the peak rate was extended this year due to COVID impacts.
  • J9 stated, had they only captured data for the peak season average during what would be considered the normal peak weeks, those shipment numbers would be as follows:
    • 2018: 140K; 2019: 139K; and 2020: 127K
    • For all of 2020, there were 290K pickups with the historical annual average per the slides being 342K.
  • JPPSO Pearl Harbor shows an increase in invoices; Navy reps stated the JPPSO, had manpower issues over the holiday, but is working overtime this week and weekend to get invoices back to normal levels; and TSPs should see improvement by next week.
  • Slides reflect no COVID related letters of suspension over the last week of December; and 17 COVID related LOWs.
  • Slide 5 shows the states where LOWs are occurring…and those are largely for mask violations
  • Slide 6 shows COVID related punitive actions by market; J9 stated they will continue to refine; showing how many shipments in each market along with how many violations.

 

Other highlights from the call:

 

The new Operations Chief, MAJ Smith, discussed that J9 had received very few questions about the 2021 business rules.  IAM stated we had collected questions during two industry sessions on business rules and once fully consolidated, would forward those to J9.  MAJ Smith also reminded callers that CSS appeals are due to J9 not later than 2359 CST on 11 January (actually the MAJ had the dates wrong, but was corrected by Kevin Meyers; and confirmed via the advisory).

 

The MAJ also said J9 is working on finalizing inconvenience and real property forms that are required for the 2021 rate season; and those should be available not later than 20 Jan.

 

Storage Management Office stated per advisory #21-0020 aimed at NTS providers, DoD will be conducting in-person NTS warehouse inspections in the coming weeks (there is reason to believe some have already started).  These inspections will largely be carried out by local transportation offices.  The SMO stated there have been a rash of mold shipments; and a situation where a warehouse roof collapsed; and they felt it important to put eyes on warehouses and report back concerns that they find.  NOTE: As of this writing, the referenced advisory was not posted on move.mil/sme.  I’ve asked USTC for a copy.

 

The DPS Systems branch stated they are still working with TSPs to get Robotic Processing Automation (RPA) accounts approved in TEAMS; and have answered a number of help desk tickets working with TSPs to get CIP and COR issues resolved before rate filing.  Per J9, all help desk tickets on CIP and COR issues are resolved; leaving 13 TSPs who do not have CIP and COR updated as required.  Those TSPs are mostly already in non-use.

 

J9 was asked for standard guidance for updating TEAMS for things like updating Trusted Agents.  J9 was asked whether they could post guidance for TSPs on how to make these kinds of changes.  The J9 rep said their goal is that TEAMS will replicate the processes used in ETA for things like this; and they will provide feedback to TEAMS that the Trusted Agent update process is not clear to industry.

 

Army Personal Property Lead Element (APPLE): said at the installation level, they’ve heard that a local commander at Ft Leonard Wood, MO has given orders that no physical inspections (QA) will occur at that installation.  As APPLE receives more updates like this they will pass it along; but for movers servicing shipments on that installation, if there are issues, please contact the local transportation office so they can get a QA engaged virtually.

 

USMC: HQ rep stated the marines are happy with the services they are getting in the field.

 

IAM brought up concerns with the volatility of air freight rates; and the difficulty that volatility is posing for TSPs to file rates.  We asked if DoD would continue to allow air freight charges as a pass through until the rates stabilized (per guidance in IT21, pg 25, “DoD Stop Movement Initiatives”).  Per J9, if air freight rates were still problematic, they would continue to assess the issue and allow for pass through charges on air freight until rates were stabilized; and they would assess it every two weeks.  But TSP servicing air freight shipments will still be required to file rates for 2021.

 

Discussion on port congestion and delays world-wide; but specifically at LA/LB was a hot topic again on the call, will several industry reps discussing what is occurring at the ports. J9 made a couple of points on this topic: 1. Make sure you are in constant contact with the customer to ensure they know what is happening with their shipment; 2. Ensure the local shipping office is aware of shipment status; 3. Ensure you’re updating DPS with the latest details on these delays. 

 

But the J9 Director challenged industry, stating he’s been hearing about LA/LB delays for months; and the situation in his mind is not that different than it’s been…therefore they’ve already implemented increased transit times for international shipments in response to network-wide delays from COVID.  So the Director’s question to industry was, what is industry doing to resolve the issue; come up with an alternative; find other ways to move through the network to meet transit times that are already extended?  The response was that there are limited options due to US Flag availability in the Pacific; that industry influence over steamship lines is limited in terms of what ports they call; that the steamship lines have their own terminals in many cases, and logistical arrangements, and that is where their ships will dock; and that TSPs filed their rates based on where shipments would enter and exit CONUS; and steamship lines are going to go where their customer base for freight is…and on the West Coast, that’s largely southern CA.  But J9 stated they’d like industry to explore other options and not just accept LA/LB delays indefinitely.

 

The TRANSCOM Deputy Commander acknowledged he heard IAM’s request for priority consideration for vaccine for truckers and movers; but stated from his view point, it’s hard to pinpoint priority for one element of the Joint Deployment and Distribution Enterprise (the JDDE) over another.  In other words, it’s hard for him to ask for priority for movers when pilots, railroads, steamship lines, etc are also critical to the JDDE.  But he understands our request and appreciates that we asked for support.

 

The Deputy Commander also acknowledged IAM’s question from before the Holidays on whether USTC believed installation commanders would eventually require proof of vaccination before allowing access to an installation…potentially impacting a movers’ ability to get on base to service a shipment.  He stated he was not aware of any such intent at this point, but would continue to monitor that situation at his level.