USTC J9 COVID-19/Stop Movement Call (10 Apr)
April 13, 2020
On Friday, USTC J9 held the second of their now twice-weekly teleconference with industry. There were no slides or data presented during this call. Lt Col Lowery ran the call; VADM Mewbourne, the USTC Deputy Commander, listened in.
- Lt Col Lowery acknowledged there were a number of articles out last week speculating on whether the Stop Movement order would be pushed to July/August timeframe. She called it the million-dollar question. She didn’t offer any insight as to whether the order might be extended. VADM Mewbourne added that the Stop Movement order was done for the safety of the enterprise…members and industry. Stated it is not calendar based, but conditions based. He stated the DoD was doing some forecasting work, trying to decipher when the environment might be suitable for moving…that it was an on-going analysis, and he expects some information imminently. He said we might even see something by next week (this week as I write this); but that for now, what was being said in the media was really just speculation.
- We asked COL Gipson if she had any status on whether USTC might approve some of the proposals IAM sent on behalf of the industry. She mentioned that USTC had already approved some, in part (delaying financials, adding charges for wait time). She said they were studying other proposals, looking into “quick wins” and that they continue to work through what is doable. IAM has also asked for a surcharge for shipments impacted by the COVID crisis; and for the ability to do partial billing instead of waiting in some cases for months for a shipment to be completed; to be able to keep cash flowing.
- COL Gipson mentioned USTC was in the process of shaping an advisory on what TSPs and families in the home can expect of each other; face coverings if you can’t maintain social distancing requirements, etc.
- USTC was asked whether they would consider extending peak season rates beyond the typical peak season. COL Gipson mentioned they have that topic for consideration and are working with the Services; can’t currently project where the peak will end this year and will consider when to end those peak rates.
- COL Abraham from the Army Personal Property Lead Element (APPLE) asked industry, if you were having challenges on installation access or with family members, etc, please reach out to local shipping offices to get help at the local level to help alleviate those issues…installation access issues…TSP and family safety issues, etc. Keep the lines of communication open with the local shipping offices. COL Abraham also mentioned that they continue to book shipments into the summer so industry can see the demand signal the DoD expects for this peak season, once the Stop Move order is lifted.
- The AF Personal Property Activity (PPA), Col Punches, also reinforced good communication with the local shipping offices to try to avert issues on the same kind of issues discussed by APPLE. Stated the AF will only send verified information to TSPs, not speculation.
- Coast Guard thanked TSPs who continue to move their members and appreciated the industry support during these tough times.
- Marine rep essentially stated, we don’t know what we don’t know; the situation is very unfortunate for so many people/organizations; and they feel for the struggles the industry is facing right now.
- Navy stated they are continuing to book shipments based on their guidance.
- COL Gipson added there is a Spouse Forum coming up later in the month. She stated she would share what she hears from that forum in terms of issues, concerns, and other stories so industry is aware of what is happening in terms of what the families are hearing/are concerned with.
- Per the above bullet…COL Gipson asked if there was something from industry that we wanted her to share with Service Member spouses, we pass that either to her directly, or you can send it to me at email@example.com, and I’ll pass it along.