USTC J9 Weekly Peak Season Call (28 May)

May 29, 2020

The following are notes from USTC J9’s weekly Peak Season call:


  • Slides for the weekly peak season call are now being posted to  Download this week’s slides.  Slides will be posted vice emailed to participants from here on out. There is a difference between slide number and page number in the pdf document.  E.g., slide 4 is on page 7.  Therefore I will refer to the slide number in the lower right hand corner of the chart.


  • Slide 2 shows that the workload forecast is picking up.  In the upper right hand corner, members counseled for week 21 is growing closer to the three year average for that week.  And shipments awarded during week 21 is near the three year average.  Pickups are still lagging.  But pre-award, award, and pre-survey done combinations are clearly growing.
  • Slide 3A is new this week.  It is a “no-capacity” slide, depicting where JPPSOs are experiencing capacity issues.  Right now there are no major issues, but some specific channel/code of service constraints are starting to show.  For this week’s slide, only JPPSO-NE got their inputs into J9 in time to make the slide.  Further details on the “no-capacity” concerns for JPPSO-NE are shown on slide 21.  Other JPPSOs chimed in that they were starting to see some capacity issues at the agent level around Ft. Knox and Kansas.  JPPSO-SE mentioned that most of their “no-capacity” concerns came on Code 8 shipments before the new rate period started.
  • Slide 4 lower quadrants show that shipments awarded for the week depicted are climbing toward the three year average.  USTC reinforced that this is a clear signal to industry that shipment totals are returning, and industry should be prepared to operate at or near peak levels in the near future. There was much discussion on this topic as to whether USTC should make their projections known to industry all the way across and down through the network.  USTC felt as though they’ve been clear and industry should know based on the work they’ve done to project workload…and from their messaging on the Service’s appetite to move shipments near the 9,000 shipments per week level, well into the Fall and potentially beyond.  Some on the government side of the call felt like TSPs haven’t been signaling to their agents that the workload was coming, and therefore some agents are not ramping up to handle an increased workload.  Industry reps articulated the financial concern some have about ramping up too soon after this extended downturn in workload and not having a way to pay for staff until actual workload manifested itself clearly, not based off a projection…real workload for a specific location, not more general projected workload across the network.  Industry reps asked for a “heat map” that would signal what installations were “green” and open for business, so local agents would know there were no restrictions for shipments coming to, or leaving that installation.  USTC stated they felt the information is already out there on where shipments are moving, and industry should be able to react.  There was no clear common ground gained on this topic. 
  • Speaking of installations turning “green”, this memo from the Secretary of Defense changes the original Stop Movement Order.  Instead of having a hard date of 30 June for the end of the Stop Movement order, the DoD is moving to conditions-based criteria, and has stated that once installations turn “green” they are free to send/receive shipments from other “green” locations without a specific exception or exemption.  The memo lays out what will create the conditions for when an installation is fully open for business. As referenced above, some on the call asked USTC to provide a heat map of “green” installations; but as of now, they are resistant to that idea.  This new memo incorporates exceptions and exemptions already in place under the previous Stop Movement Order.
  • Air Force reiterated a concern brought up earlier in the week on the Stop Movement Call.  They wanted TSPs to know that prior to, or after you accept a short fuse, you can’t go out to the customer to ask them to change their date.  The short fuse is meant to be serviced on the customer’s requested date, and if you can’t do that, don’t call the member to ask them to change it; allow the shipment to move to the first TSP who can service it as requested.
  • JPPSO-SC discussed that they have been made aware of too many Health Protocols violations, and they believe the requirements are clear, and for now rigid, and therefore believe they have no choice but to suspend TSPs when the protocols aren’t followed.  It sounded as if 50 suspensions were due to flow shortly.  Some were based on members not receiving the memo from the crew certifying who was on the crew and that they were following CDC protocols.  And many were due to lack of compliance with wearing masks. 
  • Industry asked if they could remove masks if the customer allowed them to?  The answer is no.  The service member is not authorized to provide an exemption from wearing masks.  USTC reminded people that there was a Health Protection Protocols FAQ on that addressed these kinds of questions. 
  • Slide 24 shows a 24-week shipment outlook.  Looking at his slide, it shows, compared to last year at this time, week 26 and beyond is over 70% of last year’s totals, and growing in the out weeks to over 80% of what it was last year at the same time.  This again, signals where DoD sees shipment volumes as of today; and they expect them to continue to grow as the weeks move on.
  • JPPSO-SC stated they are seeing a lot of issues with auto-reweighs…with movers not knowing when it applies, and at what levels.  They mentioned for automatic reweighs, many TSPs were submitting pre-approvals, and they stated there is no requirement for a pre-approval for an automatic reweigh; so they are denying those pre-approvals.
  • IAM inquired with USTC on whether they had decided how they would handle shipments put in storage at origin due to Stop Movement under 2019 non-peak rates, but are now moving from origin during peak season.  We had asked them, since this was specifically due to the Stop Movement, whether they would consider moving those shipments at 2020 peak rates, due to the fact the Pandemic was an unforeseen circumstance; and the huge impact of getting these shipments serviced now with non-peak rates.  Their answer was, they were not considering any change to policy on this topic.  IAM President followed up after the call to Rick Marsh, asking USTC to reconsider their position on this topic due to the unique circumstances and financial impacts.