eGov/Mil Newsletter: May 17, 2019
In this Issue:
- USTRANSCOM Getting Pressure from JPPSOs to Turn Off Refusal Capability
- USTRANSCOM Moves Forward With Policy on Inconvenience Claims for Shipments out of Storage-in-Transit (SIT)
- IAM’s Fifth and Sixth Articles in a Series of Op-Ed Pieces on DoD’s Global Household Goods Contract (GHC)
- USTRANSCOM Weekly Peak Season Teleconference
- The Pentagon is Rushing to Outsource Military Moves, and Moving Companies Aren’t Happy
- USTRANSCOM Open Discussion with Industry Telecon
- National Defense Transportation Association (NDTA) Surface Committee Meeting
- MilMove Update from USTRANSCOM
There is a full update on the weekly peak season call below, but a critical issue has been pulled from the overall summary to be highlighted here.
JPPSO-NC made a strong push to USTRANSCOM today to turn off the refusal capability in DPS. There are a few important items that every TSP must understand.
The most important issue that the JPPSOs noted, that we as an industry need to correct if we want the option to continue to utilize refusals, is that they believe there are a few TSPs who are utilizing the refusal capability on every shipment rather than also incorporating blackouts in areas where they have little or no capacity. The JPPSO personnel believe this lack of the appropriate use of blackouts is a major issue and is causing additional unanticipated workload for the JPPSOs as well as delaying the booking of shipments for some service members. For refusals to work, TSPs must utilize blackouts when they realize they are nearing capacity in a channel, instead of relying solely on the use of their refusal capability. If not, refusals may be turned off for everyone.
TSPs may be finding that they have to refuse the same shipment multiple times. USTRANSCOM has determined that this is occurring when most TSPs in a channel are blacked out and the same shipment continues to cycle back to the TSPs which are not blacked out. The JPPSOs have no visibility that this is occurring and a shipment will continue in this loop for 72 hours before they become aware. JPPSOs are starting to turn off the DPS automation that allows a refused shipment to be pushed to the next TSP in line and are now feeling they are being forced to deal with many more shipments in a manual fashion in order to avoid this unforeseen phenomenon.
JPPSOs are experiencing a significantly higher number of channels where ALL TSPs are blacked out than they normally do at this point in the Peak Season. To manage this critical piece of information effectively, JPPSOs must be made aware of the lack of capacity on a channel as soon as possible. Because some TSPs are setting up their systems to auto-refuse, instead of blacking out when they have no capacity, the JPPSOs do not get a “no capacity” notification from the system, and therefore don’t initiate arrangements with the member to move their dates immediately, or allow the member to consider an actual reimbursement PPM. The refusals make it appear that there are still SCACs with capacity in a given channel, and so DPS continues to re-offer the shipment once it goes through the whole Traffic Distribution List (TDL)…only to get everyone to refuse the shipment again.
The JPPSOs and USTC acknowledged that it looked like most TSPs are effectively using blackouts in the system, but even a small number of TSPs refusing every shipment instead of blacking out when they have no capacity, causes the overall process to not work. It’s critical everyone in industry manages the refusal and blackout capability properly or USTC will ultimately have to defer to the JPPSOs to turn off refusals.
Additionally, it appears to USTRANSCOM, that some TSPs may be using their refusal capability to “selectively” refuse small or remote shipments. This is another issue that may convince USTRANSCOM to discontinue the ability to refusal shipments.
Source: IAM; USTC
USTRANSCOM Moves Forward With Policy on Inconvenience Claims for Shipments out of Storage-in-Transit (SIT)
On 24 January, USTRANSCOM (USTC) issued Advisory #19-0027, announcing they posted a revised Tender of Service (TOS) to their move.mil/sme page. This new TOS, effective 15 May 2019, was made available to industry after the first round of rate filing, and included USTC’s new policy on TSP’s responsibility to pay inconvenience claims for shipments coming out of SIT, if the TSP can’t meet the member’s requested delivery date. IAM received feedback from TSPs on the impact of this change, and the fact that TSPs were not provided the TOS prior to rate filing. The IAM Executive Committee asked IAM to have our lawyers officially engage USTC lawyers and senior leaders to ask for the new policy to be pushed until TSPs had the opportunity to account for this change during rate filing. IAM received notification on 13 May from USTC that they would not reverse their position. USTC believes TSPs were given sufficient notice of the change, and believe the new policy is a benefit for service members that is too important to delay implementation.
Source: IAM; USTC
IAM’s Fifth and Sixth Articles in a Series of Op-Ed Pieces on DoD’s Global Household Goods Contract (GHC)
IAM’s series of Op-Ed pieces on DoD’s GHC, continues. The last two articles on DoD’s Contracting Initiative (If It Ain’t Broke…; and Kicked to the Curb) advocate for continuous process improvement of the current program over radical change; and takes a look at the impact to local moving and storage companies.
Beyond the refusal conversation already covered above, the following items were discussed during the Peak Season call with USTC:
Industry noted that shipments are being pushed to TSPs in the middle of the night, not giving TSPs a chance to accept them before they are auto refused. USTC stated that JPPSOs are working overtime and multiple shifts to manage their shipments, and industry will have to make a business decision as to how to respond to the increased shifts from the DOD.
Other Peak Season briefing updates associated with the peak season slides:
- Slide #5 shows a map of no capacity reports. Both JPPSOs and Industry noted the level of no capacity reports this early in the peak season seems to be unprecedented. No capacity issues were noted in Colorado, North Dakota, New Mexico and Southern California. USTC also noted that some of the justification for the push from industry for refusals was that there would be less blackouts, and TSPs could better offer capacity if they could be a bit more selective; but they are seeing is a significant increase in blackouts along with refusals, instead of fewer blackouts...just the opposite of what industry argued.
- Slide 5B shows when JPPSOs are notified of no capacity reports.
- Slide 5D shows how far out from requested pick up that JPPSOs are seeing no capacity reports.
- Slide 10 and Slide 11, refusal ratio shows that there are now more shipments refused than awarded. USTC explained that some of this is due to the fact that some shipments are getting offered and refused multiple times. Because of that, many of the ratios in slides 10 and 11 will show a significant spike, and might not be a clear reflection of previous years where shipments weren’t offered multiple times. For instance, the suspension ratio isn’t really higher, the system is counting who is suspended multiple times because the shipment is offered multiple times. So it isn’t a good comparison to previous year averages.
- Slide 13, Code 2 utilization is up to about 11.5%. Code 2 blackout ratio is similar to what I described in the above paragraph. JPPSOs and USTC have said they haven’t recognized any significant code 2 blackouts system wide.
Sources: USTC; IAM
The Pentagon is Rushing to Outsource Military Moves, and Moving Companies Aren’t Happy
Military.com interviewed IAM’s President, Chuck White, for their article about outsourcing military moves. U.S. Transportation Command in April posted a draft request for proposal to hire a single company to manage the system responsible for permanent change-of-station moves. Members of the International Association of Movers want Congress to require the DoD to create a working group to study the measure before it goes any further.
On 3 May, USTC held a teleconference with a handful of industry members that COL Lounsbrough calls the DP3 Open Discussion with Industry. This is probably the third such call since January. He uses it to get direct feedback on the program. There is typically no set agenda. On the telecon COL Lounsbrough provided the following pieces of information:
- There are administrative changes coming to the 400NG and IT-19. Apparently these are simple clarifications on issues people have raised to them as being unclear. The only specific item mentioned was that SDDC’s fuel surcharge policy is removing Personal Property element from their document since SDDC is no longer in charge of Personal Property. Therefore, USTC will take the exact wording of the current fuel surcharge policy and add it to the 400NG and International Tender. (See the advisory on IT-19 and 400NG updates.)
- USTC is developing a Charter to outline a new Personal Property Executive Working Group. It will be similar to USTC’s Surface Executive Working Group, The Civil Reserve Air Fleet Executive Working Group, and the Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement Working Group. It will be fairly small in number, and will meet at least annually, but potentially semi-annually. Who will be invited and how long members will participate once invited is yet to be decided.
- COL Lounsbrough asked for feedback on the Refusals CONOPS. He mentioned that he hadn’t received much positive or negative feedback at this point, and he’s hoping he’ll hear some positives since this is what industry has pushed for the past few years.
- He mentioned the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) level Cross-Functional Team is still working on multiple aspects of DoD’s permanent change of station (PCS) policy. This team is made up of Personnel, Logistics, Acquisition and Public Affairs staffers. One thing they are getting ready to do is that OSD Public Affairs is finalizing various products they will provide to the Services, who will get them to their members that presents information on moving. One example is a Code 2 pamphlet on frequently asked questions that will help members understand what does or doesn’t make their shipment a good candidate for a Code 2 move.
- The USTC 24-hour customer support center is up and running.
- IAM pushed for the transit time increases that were added to domestic to be applied to the same domestic leg of an international shipment. USTC now agrees and is working on making those updates to the transit times.
- COL Lounsbrough mentioned they are reviewing international transit times on those channels where industry has provided additional justification…specifically mentioned Turkey, Australia, Bahrain, Guam, Singapore. IAM will push a few additional channels to USTC once we have a sense from this review that we know what they are looking for.
There is no set schedule for the next telecon.
Sources: USTC; IAM
On 7 May, NDTA Surface Committee meeting was held outside of Scott AFB. The Surface Committee is co-chaired by the SDDC Commander (MG Farmen) and Mike Cashner from Landstar. This is largely a surface freight focused meeting, but NDTA does have a Household Goods Subcommittee (chaired by John Johnson of UniGroup); and sometimes provides updates of relevance to the HHG community.
Following the NDTA meeting, American Trucking Association (ATA) held their Government Freight Conference (GFC). ATA asked if IAM and AMSA would provide a quick update on the HHG Outsourcing effort. Below is an update on both meetings in terms of any relevance to HHG.
- Besides MG Farmen and Mike Cashner, the Surface Committee was attended by NDTA’s President, VADM Andy Brown (former USTC Deputy Commander); USTC Legislative Affairs; USTC Acquisition’s staff; COL Lounsbrough; Office of the Secretary of Defense for Transportation Policy; FMCSA; National Motor Freight Transportation Association; ATA; Joint Munitions Command; and various motor and rail freight carriers.
- The FMCSA representative discussed a new clearing house website they are creating that will identify drivers who’ve been suspended due to abuse of controlled substances or violations involving alcohol. Companies will be able to track whether a driver has completed the return to duty process as a way of ensuring the drivers aren’t leaving one company, not completing the process, and starting with a new company. Read more about this issue.
- John Johnson gave a quick HHG subcommittee update on transit times, Code 2, the start of the Peak Season call, Refusals CONOPS, base access, and social media impacts.
- OSD Transportation Policy representative gave an update that DBIDS should now be ready to register TWIC cards. He stated that the new DOD policy on disqualifying an individual from entering an installation will now be held at the Secretary of the Service level, and not at the local installation. Therefore, disqualification criteria will be the same for any installation for a particular Service…but there could still be differences between installations of different Services. He said it would likely take “a couple of years” to coordinate the disqualification criteria across all the Services. For individuals who are disqualified, the installation has to have a posted appeal process. OSD also said the household goods cross-functional team was still meeting (logistics, personnel, acquisitions). He said they are addressing demand smoothing, but really had no input on what actions were being considered beyond stating they were trying to give Service Members an opportunity to move outside the peak of the peak. He also stated they are getting orders in the system 6 months in advance as a way to help TSPs manage their capacity through earlier notification of upcoming moves.
- USTC Legislative Affairs provided an update on the timing for NDAA mark ups happening in the Senate and House. He was asked to speculate on whether he thought a new NDAA would be passed this year, or if we’d have a continuing resolution. He stated he had no insight, but wouldn’t be surprised with a continuing resolution. He also mentioned there was language in a bill that proposed that any commercial vehicle moving DOD cargo or HHG would be required to have a speed limiter installed at 65 mph. IAM is seeking further information about this proposed language.
- IAM and AMSA provided an update to ATA’s GFC meeting which was held immediately following the Surface Committee meeting. Of particular interest to the GFC was the applicability of the Service Contract Act as it relates to the proposed HHG contract.
The next Surface Committee meeting is in October, in conjunction with NDTA’s annual conference.
USTC held their bi-weekly MilMove teleconference on 9 May, to discuss the current status of system development. It appears that the Global Household Goods Contract (GHC) effort has essentially pushed MilMove development to the back burner. Efforts associated with MilMove development continue, but seem to have lost their priority.
The developer is working on SIT accessorials. They are focused on creating the new SIT process in MilMove without adding some of the waste that exists in the DPS process. When asked for clarification, USTC reps stated there are a lot of steps in the DPS process based on lack of trust between carrier and PPSO, and they are trying to eliminate some of those steps. USTC stated SIT development is a good 4-6 weeks out from being done. And will be key to expanding the shipment count in MilMove since they won’t have to limit shipments to those that don’t require SIT. We won’t likely see much in terms of shipment expansion in MilMove until the SIT work is completed. When asked what industry could anticipate in terms of expanding shipments, USTC stated it could be 50 more shipments, it could be 500…they aren’t sure at this point.
USTC is in the process of reaching out to more TSPs to see if they want to be a part of the expansion effort and get shipments via MilMove. They don’t want to use the same TSPs they’ve already used. When asked how USTC decided which TSPs to reach out to, the POC on the call wasn’t immediately aware. They are using the original list of 90+ who volunteered, but not going back out to everyone. USTC expects confirmation from TSPs they contacted by next week on who wants to participate.
USTC is waiting for the minimally viable product from the developer on the Claims module. Once they have that they will put the process for the member out on move.mil. USTC stated the developer will also get TSP input on the claims module, but no additional specifics were available at the time of the call.