eGov/Mil Newsletter: May 31, 2019
In this Issue:
- Inconvenience Claims for Shipments Coming out of SIT: a Q&A with USTC
- USTRANSCOM Global Household Goods Contract (GHC) Update: Bundling Notification
- USTRANSCOM Weekly Peak Season Teleconference (30 May)
- USTRANSCOM Weekly Peak Season Teleconference (23 May)
- IAM’s Seventh & Eighth Articles in a Series of Op-Ed Pieces on DoD’s Global Household Goods Contract (GHC)
- Requirement for Seals Removed from Tender of Service
- On-Base Families Forced to Contend with Health Hazards at Home
The new policy in the 15 May ’19 Tender of Service (TOS) on paying service members inconvenience claims for shipments coming out of SIT that fail to meet the members requested delivery day (see TOS provisions B.12.c(2) & B.12.f(3)), raised a number of questions as to the practical application of the policy.
IAM approached USTC on some specific scenarios to get a sense of how industry could expect the policy to be applied. I’ve listed a series of questions and answers on the topic below for your situational awareness.
1. IAM Question: For inconvenience claims for deliveries coming out of SIT (June 15 - Aug 15), if a member requests a delivery on 1 July, and the TSP says they can deliver on 15 July (11 GBDs after request); the TSP is responsible for inconvenience for 1 GBD, correct? There was some concern that if the TSP can't meet the date within 10 GBDs, the inconvenience would go all the way back to 1 July and the TSP would be responsible for all 11 days. Can you clarify?
USTC Answer: Based on the language and intent, I would agree the TSP is responsible for the difference only (1 GBD not all 11 days).
2. IAM Question: Similar scenario, Initial request for delivery out of SIT is 1 July. TSP can make it on 15 July. Individual says they can't take it on 15 July, they want it on 17 July. Is the TSP now liable for inconvenience claims for 15-17 July?
USTC Answer: The TSP would NOT be liable for the additional days between members available date and the date they attempted to schedule. In short TSP is responsible for inconvenience for 1 GBD, not three.
3. IAM Question: Alternatively, customer wants it on 1 July. TSP can deliver on 12 July; which is within the 10 GBD window and offers that to customers. And customer wants it on 15 July. Since the TSP could meet the 10 day window, but customer can't take it on that day, is the TSP responsible for inconvenience for the additional days beyond the 10 GBD window?
USTC Answer: No, agree that the TSP would NOT be liable since they attempted to schedule within the 10 GBDs.
4. IAM Question: And in scenario #2 and #3, how is this to be documented so a "he said, she said" scenario doesn't happen where TSP says they offered on the 12th, and member refused that day and wants the 15th, but member says later they never agreed to those dates and files an inconvenience claim?
USTC Answer: Recommendation: DPS "Notes" or email. Same as any other interaction with the customer.
5. IAM Question: Does this policy only apply to shipments picking up on or after 15 May ’19?
USTC Answer: Yes. The policy doesn’t apply prior to when the new TOS is effective.
Source: IAM; USTC
USTRANSCOM Global Household Goods Contract (GHC) Update: Bundling Notification
On 23 May, USTC Acquisitions Directorate updated their fbo.gov website and added a document titled “Bundling Notification.”
This notification alerts businesses of USTC’s intent to bundle multiple requirements under the proposed GHC. Those requirements include counseling; shipment management; ITV; SIT; NTS pick up and delivery; claims; invoicing; and DPM.
Source: USTC AQ
The various Service entities made a plea to USTC again today to end refusals. USTC acknowledged their frustration but asked for patience from the Services so they could gather information and data, study metrics and make an informed decision about whether or not refusals are helping, hurting, or making no difference.
TSPs who have examples or data that points to how you’ve been able to use refusals to provide better service to DOD members, should consider sending them to USTC so they have fresh examples when they consider whether refusals will continue this peak season, and whether they should be allowed in the future.
The issue of not contacting customers during the refusal window, as outlined in the USTC Advisory from last week, was discussed again. One Service rep stated their JPPSOs didn’t really see a big issue with it, as long as TSPs were not strong-arming members to change their dates, but USTC said definitively that they did not want TSPs contacting members during this time period. USTC sees this window as time allotted for TSPs to coordinate with origin and destination agents to see if the shipment can be serviced. If not, then the shipment should be refused and passed to the next TSP. Having the member agree to alter dates in the refusal window is seen as providing an unfair advantage, since a TSP higher in the BVS ranking might’ve taken the shipment if different dates could be used.
USTC was informed that TSPs often see alternative dates listed, and call to see if the member is willing to go with the alternative dates; and if so, the TSP can take the shipment. It was explained that if a TSP accepts the shipment based on the alternative dates, without checking with the member first, the member might be upset thinking they were getting their move on the preferred dates. USTC took that under advisement and said they would consider it. But for now, the policy of no contact during the refusal window still stands.
Once a shipment is accepted, a TSP can still call the member to see if alternate dates are acceptable, but cannot use strong armed tactics to force a member to switch their dates. USTC and JPPSOs are very sensitive to this kind of member complaint.
It was stated by the Army and Navy that it appears as though there are no blackouts for Hawaii, and yet JPPSOs cannot get anyone to service Hawaii shipments right now. They asked USTC to research whether TSPs were just using refusals in Hawaii instead of blacking out. If so, then it masks the problem and doesn’t allow DOD to use alternative methods to move shipments, such as actual cost reimbursements to the member.
The Army representative mentioned they briefed the Secretary of the Army on Code 2, and the Secretary was “thrilled” with the Code 2 initiative, and wanted more; and wanted Code 2 use to “sky-rocket” to up to 50% or more. They told the Secretary they had to work with industry to do what makes sense, and that 50% would be difficult to achieve based on many factors, but they said the Secretary wanted to continue to push Code 2.
The Services and USTC had a telecon yesterday and discussed ways to make their current capacity issues better. In consultation with the Services, USTC has decided to expand the short fuse window to 10 days starting now. You should’ve already seen the advisory on this topic.
Service reps identified significant trouble getting baggage shipments serviced from North Carolina to anywhere…specifically mentioned to Turkey and Japan. Also baggage from Southern California to Hawaii; and JPPSO Mid Atlantic discussed problems getting baggage shipments to Belgium. We discussed the number of rejected rates on the international side as one potential reason for a lack of capacity, the difficulty agents have with handling these kinds of shipments based on the current shipment distribution methodology, and the fact that USTC has advertised a potential increase in the MPS next year, leads TSPs to be more conservative in the types of shipments they handle that could impact their BVS.
The Army made it known they were hearing issues with getting reweighs accomplished on shipments within 10% of the max weight, and asked for industry help to make this happen, so members would know whether they are going to have to pay out of pocket.
AMSA asked if USTC or JPPSO SC were considering additional actions to lessen the burden on servicing shipments at Tyndall AFB. USTC said they were already paying extra for linehaul, and felt it wasn’t necessary to do more. And didn’t agree the Tyndall situation was the same as Key West. USTC was told industry feedback suggested otherwise.
IAM asked for updates on the various requests to USTC to adjust international transit times. We were told some decisions had been made and updates were being planned, but no specifics were provided yet.
Comments on the slides:
- Slide 5A: Based on no capacity reports and challenges in various remote locations, USTC will continue to consider special solicitations for these areas in the future much like they wanted to do this past year for a winner take all Northern Tier solicitation. Expect more focus on this kind of solution.
- Slide 7: short fuse staying low, but the 10 day expansion has been initiated.
- Slide 10: code 2 at 11%. Looking for more.
- Slide 14: data shows % of accepted shipments holding steady; and that refusals went down from 3.5% to 2.6%. USTC says it suggests that refusal experiment not way off track from what was wanted. Seeing fewer refusals and more blackouts, which is what they wanted per last week’s messaging.
- There are now detailed no capacity reports at the end of the slide show
Source: USTC; IAM
On the 23 May Peak Season call, the primary area of focus for the Services was the refusal process. Last week, JPPSO SC and NC were most vocal, but today they were joined by the Navy, Army Sustainment Command and APPLE calling for the end of refusals. The Navy added that if USTC makes no movement on refusals, USTC would receive feedback directly from the Navy’s General Officer Steering Committee member.
At the heart of their concern from the JPPSO perspective is that refusals have resulted, in their minds, in no discernible increase in capacity, anecdotal evidence of customer frustration, and has caused significant workload issues on their side. They point to significant increase in handling shipments that are refused, causing JPPSOs overtime and resulting in getting even further behind in their ability to service shipments. Part of the problem is that some shipments go through the refusal process, don’t get accepted by anyone, and end up disappearing from the system. Then the JPPSOs have to go back in, figure out what wasn’t accepted, and re-create the shipment in DPS again…all for the same problem to potentially occur again. Because of this, many have turned off the auto-re-offer functionality in DPS on refusals.
USTC has identified what they believe is the cause of this problem (of shipments getting hung up or disappearing), and sent out an advisory (#19-0070) that addresses their findings related to TSPs working in multiple screens in DPS at one time.
The same advisory addressed the issue of customer’s being frustrated (per JPPSO input) that several TSPs are calling members to adjust their dates, and when they won’t, then refuse the shipment. The advisory now prohibits this customer contact.
- Slide 4: last week’s numbers were almost the same as the 3-year average
- Slide 5: No capacity reports…continue to see issues in Colorado and North Dakota. The Navy raised concerns with places like China Lake and 29 Palms. They were told it was due to disappearing local agents in that area. USTC did say that compared to last year at this time, there are fewer no capacity reports this year…potentially as a result of refusals. JPPSO SE was asked if they were still requiring GBL correction notices for Key West shipments going into SIT, or was it happening automatically? They responded that they still require the TSP to contact the JPPSO with the request.
- Slide 5C: based on requested pick up, see the biggest no capacity impact so far to week 22; USTC stated they expect the biggest impact for the summer will be week 26.
- Slide 6: on upper right quadrant (Time Out Ratio) added years 2012 -14 since they were the last years refusals were allowed. Current numbers still pretty small. USTC added it wasn’t a direct comparison to this year because with automated refusals, shipments are pushed much faster and therefore go through more TSPs more quickly. It was also pointed out that previously, refusals were 24 hours as opposed to 4 & 12 hours now, which would impact the comparison.
- Slide 7: Short fuse shipments still fairly low. A couple of JPPSOs asked to start the short fuse expansion now. Services are pushing to expand the window to 10 days. I suspect that will come in the not too distant future.
- Slide 10: Code 2 shipments fell off a little compared to the previous week. Still around 10%.
- Slide 14: shows that for shipments offered, the % of each category by week. JPPSOs pointed to week 20 showing that less than 1% of shipments offered were accepted by TSPs.
- Slide 17: Shows average days late for direct deliveries spiked above the average for the last data point USTC has for this year.
Source: IAM; USTC
IAM’s Seventh & Eighth Articles in a Series of Op-Ed Pieces on DoD’s Global Household Goods Contract (GHC)
Requirement for Seals Removed from Tender of Service
IAM has received a number of questions regarding the requirement to use seals. In the TOS in effect prior to 15 May ’19, the paragraph on containers at C.9.a(1), contained the requirement to use seals. In the new TOS, the container paragraph is C.7, and does not contain verbiage on seals.
TSPs can continue to use seals as a part of their own practice, it is just no longer listed as a requirement in the current TOS.
On-Base Families Forced to Contend with Health Hazards at Home
Military families living at Randolph Air Force Base are demanding action, saying they didn’t sign up for the mold, water damage and health hazards plaguing their homes. Moving companies need to pay close attention to shipments coming out of this base.