USTC J9 COVID-19/Stop Movement Order Call (12 May)

May 12, 2020

J9 held their now weekly COVID call 12 May.  They covered information contained on their “Placemat” slides, but many industry members didn’t receive those slides due to an unknown email problem.  We do not yet have the slides to provide.   The session was led by Lt Col Lowery, with inputs from Danny Martinez, COL Gipson, Rick Marsh, and VADM Mewbourne.


Notes from the call:


  • The Peak Season advisory was released 12 May with 6 attachments.
  • From the Placemat slide (which we do not have), last week, the week-18 data showed pickups were at about 15% of the historical average for that week; but as information continues to trickle in week-18 now reflects 39% of the historical average.  J9 expects we’ll continue to see these kinds of updated percentages as we move forward.  As an example, the 12 May chart for week-19 shows 15% from when the slide was made, but is already up to 21% at the time of the brief.  Without the slides in-hand, it’s hard to discuss other portions of the data; but we were told to expect increased bookings as the weeks go by.  Per J9, starting with week 28 (end of the current stop move order), projected volume is 139% of last year’s pickups; week 29 is at 118%; week 30 is at 93% of 2019.  The data is still fluctuating, and those numbers will change, but that gives a sense of an increase of projected bookings following the Stop Movement Order.
  • There was discussion that some of the lack of seeing near-term uptick in bookings comes from industry not updating pre-survey complete in DPS, thus a delay in reflecting shipments that might be in an intransit status.  IAM offered that we received information from some TSPs that there were a large number of shipments that were booked with non-peak rates, that are on hold due to Stop Movement; but many had not been canceled or pulled back by JPPSOs, and so were just sitting in limbo waiting for action.  J9 suggested they weren’t aware of many shipments in that status.  But the Navy stated they thought there might be quite a few of those shipments because the member does not know when they are moving, therefore the JPPSO can’t assign a new date to the shipment and thus has left the shipment in its current status.  They stated they are waiting for customers to give them an idea of when they will move, or if they will move.  And until then, we might expect to continue to see shipments that have not been cancelled or pulled back and rebooked with peak rates.  The Navy suggested that if the move date was for more than about two weeks in the past, it’s probably because the member doesn’t know their status yet.
  • J9 asked TSPs and Services for any issues or success stories associated with the Health Protection Protocols policy.  No responses were forthcoming from either side.  J9 is interested in hearing issues as they arise.
  • Later in the call, Rick Marsh went back to the Services on the Health Protection Protocols discussion and asked them in broad terms to discuss what they are hearing…systemically, not “one-off” issues.  All stated they had heard no systemic overarching issues at this point.  Army and Air Force mentioned that besides a QA visit during moves, TSPs could expect to see visits from local, installation level leadership to make sure the move process was going smoothly.
  • AF PPA mentioned that they expected to start seeing more shipments moving out of Europe and the Pacific as those regions opened up more.  But stated there is still much work happening in the Personnel communities to sort out who is going to move, who has priority, and how the backlog and normal peak season requirements would be handled.  They cautioned there is much “churn” left in the process, and that it will take a while for the Personnel staffs to get it all sorted out.
  • The Army mentioned, based on their policy of allowing overseas moves (packout and onward movement) to happen up to 60 days ahead of time, they expected industry would see additional moves happening before Stop Movement ended. 
  • AF PPA stated they were hearing anecdotal evidence that industry was having some struggle getting cleaning supplies and/or PPE; and asked for input on the call.  They were told there were some issues, more sporadic than consistent, where agents or drivers were experiencing issues getting cleaning supplies or masks.  IAM and AMSA were asked to survey members to see if there were any “hotspots” where this was an issue; and find out how prevalent the concern was.  Expect to see a survey on this topic; and it would be appreciated if you could push it out to your entire network.
  • VADM Mewbourne (USTC Deputy Commander) mentioned he was briefing the Service’s Top Logisticians (“The Service 4s”) this week on industry impacts in all areas…air, motor, surface and HHG.  He asked for insights on the state of the industry…wanted to hear how small businesses were doing.  He was told there was a good amount of strain; plenty of layoffs and furloughs; and financial struggles were real, especially since the Stop Movement Order hit after a normal slow time where industry would typically be getting back on their feet.  He stated the SECDEF was getting ready to allow a regional update of Health Protection Conditions (HPCONs) to allow commanders to go from HPCON Charlie to Bravo if appropriate.  These HPCONs give commanders guidance on health protection measures they are required to implement at their installation.  He stated, DoD really needs to be back to HPCON Bravo or better before easing up on the Stop Movement Order.  So the SECDEF update is welcome, but does not mean every area is returning to HPCON Bravo at this time.  See more information on HPCONs.