eGov/Mil Newsletter: March 25, 2020
In this Issue:
- Limited Seats Remain for Today's Virtual Roundtable Discussion on the DoD Stop Movement Order - ACT NOW
- USTRANSCOM J9 Issues Updated Advisory #20-0058B Update (24 March) on Stop Movement Guidance
- GSA Holds Teleconference on COVID-19 Impacts with TSP Relocation Community
- USTRANSCOM J9 DP3 Industry Call - Stop Movement Order
- IAM and AMSA Working Together to Address Industry Funding Support from Congress and Designation of HHG Moving Industry as an Essential Function
- Military Times: Sudden halt on military moves due to coronavirus could cripple industry
Limited Seats Remain for Today's Virtual Roundtable Discussion on the DoD Stop Movement Order - ACT NOW
Register now and connect with industry leaders and your peers on a topic of paramount importance – the DoD decision to halt all moves worldwide. This decision will have significant ramifications and we want you to join us in order to listen and give us your feedback on how it affects you and your business. This roundtable will be led by Chuck White, IAM President, with the following participants:
- Rick Marsh, Director, USTC J9 Defense Personal Property Program
- Tim Helenthal, President and CEO of National Van Lines; Chair of the International Association of Movers
- JD Morrissette, President of Interstate Van Lines
The Virtual Roundtable Discussion will take place on Wednesday, March 25, at 5:00 pm EDT. To participate directly in the broadcast, please Register. IAM will record the broadcast and make it available so you will still be able to listen to it even if you cannot join us for the live broadcast.
USTRANSCOM J9 Issues Updated Advisory #20-0058B Update (24 March) on Stop Movement Guidance
This advisory to all Service Headquarters, Personal Property Processing Offices and Personal Property Shipping Offices, provided an update on implementing the DoD Stop Movement Order.
Most significant in the update is that Navy shipments will “…continue under normal operations.” Additionally, the Air Force has outlined 6 exemptions that are authorized to move. And the Army provided slightly updated guidance as well. Be sure to read the entire advisory for all the changes and details.
In separate correspondence, USTC J9, Mr. Rick Marsh wanted to make it clear that the guidance updated in the advisory about Service Exception to Policy Procedures was information provided by the Services to USTC.
The General Services Administration (GSA) hosted a teleconference with their transportation service providers (TSPs) on 23 March, to update the group on relocation actions during the COVID-19 crisis. GSA stated they would continue these calls every Monday for the foreseeable future.
The purpose of the call was to provide a quick update on any issues raised by the TSP community, and for GSA to understand TSP concerns prior to their meeting with other Government agencies.
Per GSA, as far as the agencies are concerned, they are still moving and still issuing authorizations. In their words, the government still has a job to do, and in the course of that job, relocations are continuing. UPDATE: Department of State put out guidance on 25 March to not move or release any shipments for the next two business days, and stated they would have additional guidance out by COB Monday, 30 March.
GSA speculated that if there were significant unforeseen costs and charges that TSPs start seeing as a direct result of COVID-19 impacts, they (GSA) might consider a new rate filing or moving up the next rate filing. But for now, the current rate filing that closed out 23 March is still valid. It was stressed that if TSPs start seeing unforeseen costs, to ensure they are coordinating it with the agency they are supporting; get something in writing that the agency supports billing for that cost so it can be better managed with GSA Audits.
GSA asked whether TSPs were seeing increased port storage costs that were unaccounted for. There was very little feedback from TSPs on that point. We talked about concerns with consolidation of shipments due to shipment slow down and steamship lines reducing operations. GSA was confident that working with the agencies, they would understand if RDDs needed to be adjusted due to consolidation impacts, prioritization of life saving supplies or less sailings.
One TSP asked if anyone else was seeing a slowdown in payments; and wondered if the slow down over the past two weeks was an anomaly or possibly from not having enough government offices fully staffed to process invoices. GSA asked for more feedback on that topic so they could address with the agencies.
GSA asked whether TSPs preferred that agencies stop booking shipments until they knew for sure they were moving; even if shipments were delayed, whether it was good for the TSPs to see the shipments as far out as possible to help plan their capacity; especially in light of the potential for the DoD to turn moves back on mid May and inundate the entire system. Most who commented wanted to see the shipments so they could better plan.
GSA asked whether anyone had experienced any recent challenges getting approvals for a determination of non-availability from MARAD. No TSP chimed in that they were having an issue.
USTC J9 hosted an industry call on 24 March to update TSPs and address questions associated with the DoD Stop Movement Order.
USTC J9’s Lt Col Lowery stated that the situation and conversation on COVID-19 and the Stop Movement order was continuing to evolve. She asked the Service representatives for updates on their JPPSO operations.
The Army representative stated that HQ Army G4 wanted the Army-specific wording on this latest advisory changed, but those changes have not made it yet to USTC. He mentioned they are continuing to standardize movement and guidance on shipments. The PPSOs are teleworking in many situations, but the process should be relatively seamless, but stated there might be some challenges monitoring all phones.
The Navy representative mentioned some challenges with Code 8 shipments getting out of countries like Bahrain. And he mentioned challenging situations in Spain, Italy, and Portugal. The Navy also mentioned that this latest advisory did not fully meet the intent of what the Navy intended for guidance, and they were working changes with their senior leaders, and hoped the changes and guidance would be available today (24 March). The Navy also mentioned that sailors with exception to policy that are allowed to move will also have a copy of the exception memo and can present it to the TSP if needed.
The Air Force Personal Property Activity (PPA) that they established a focal point at the PPA for questions from the field that they are manning from 0630-1830 CDT Monday – Friday.
The Marines mentioned they are seeing confusion at PPSOs on the level of approval required for a Marine to move under an exception, and reminded the other Service representatives that per their guidance, the approval can be granted by an O-5 (LT COL). Marines also reiterated that if a move has already started, it will continue through the process.
Industry representatives made another plea for Services to process invoices in a timely manner, to include DPM and NTS invoices. Mr, Marsh of J9 stated he is monitoring invoice timeliness at his level, looking for any issues that need addressing with the Services.
A question on date changes for shipments moving now was brought up. USTC J9 reiterated that if TSPs were not in agreement with a requested date change, the shipment should be pulled back and re-awarded.
USTC J9 offered that last week, shipments picked up totaled only 20% of the three-year average from the same week. But there were 10,000 shipments in the system waiting to be booked; but they still had to figure out where those shipments land in terms of when they will move.
USTC J9 also clarified on a question about shipments at origin in SIT. If the member was at destination and ready for their shipment, then this is considered a delivery and the shipment should proceed as stated in previous guidance about deliveries not being impacted.
Mr. Marsh relayed they were aware of one instance where an individual on a packing crew, who was in a member’s residence and interacting with the family, was later found to have a family member test positive for the virus. Mr. Marsh stated, as you can imagine, that has caused some trauma with the DoD family. He asked for DoD and TSPs to do their due diligence to ensure movers and their families were healthy; and ensure via customer interactions that the customer’s family was healthy and ready to have movers in the house. Where a mover or member was not comfortable for some health reason, work with the PPSO to reschedule. One mover chimed in that some families have pushed back on movers when they’ve inquired about the recent health of the family.
USTC J9 provided an update on actions they have taken to improve charges TSPs could make on delays getting into an installation due to the virus. Specific guidance was coming out soon, but TSPs could expect to be able to charge for more than one instance of $75 for a delay getting onto base, and for more than just one day…as long as the issue was not caused by the TSP.
The call ended on a confusing note. When asked, based on the latest Navy guidance that states that Navy PCS moves and HHG processes “…will continue under normal operations” whether TSPs should still expect to see remarks in DPS that show the shipment can move, initially USTC J9 and the Army representative stated that shipments would have remarks in DPS that they are approved to move. But Mr. Marsh followed up clarifying that he agreed that was true for shipments that were booked prior to the stop movement order, but that a shipment a TSP receives at this point should be assumed to be approved for movement. I suspect we’ll continue to see confusion and a difference of from PPSO to PPSO on this particular point.
IAM and AMSA Working Together to Address Industry Funding Support from Congress and Designation of HHG Moving Industry as an Essential Function
IAM and AMSA have teamed up on Capitol Hill to seek emergency funding relief for the DoD moving industry in light of the DoD’s Stop Movement Order impacting household goods shipments. The proposal, which had a very short window to be constructed, written, and submitted to Congress, used calculations provided by DAYCOS comparing last year’s invoices for the timeframe of the current Stop Movement (from 13 March to 11 May) as a way to validate potential losses within the industry over this 60-day period. It’s an uphill battle to get specific wording in the emergency funding bill for the moving industry. But the Associations continue to explore ways to get funding to support the enterprise during these historic times.
Additionally, IAM and AMSA are addressing State Governor’s offices with a joint memo recommending the moving industry be designated as an essential function when states make “shelter-in-place” designations. Some states, such as New Jersey and Illinois, have listed moving amongst their essential industries when considering who must remain at home during the declared emergency.
The National Council of Moving Associations has passed a recommended memo out to State Moving Associations for their use if needed.
Military Times: Sudden halt on military moves due to coronavirus could cripple industry
Military Times published an article on the potential impact to the moving industry if the DoD Stop Movement Order persists.