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Hundreds of Service Members Switching to Government-Paid POV Storage

By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 23, 2003 – More than 140 service members per month are opting for DoD's long-term vehicle storage program since it became available on May 1, 2002. Many are switching from private storage arrangements to the Military Traffic Management Command's no-cost option.

Formerly, MTMC had no standard storage system for privately owned vehicles. Service members used storage programs and policies that varied from installation to installation.

As of January, more than 1,200 people had turned their vehicles over to MTMC for storage while they serve in overseas assignments where they're not allowed to take vehicles, according to Dennis Barborak, a member of the MTMC storage and privately owned vehicle team.

Such assignments include unaccompanied tours to Korea, tours of fewer than 12 months, and tours with restrictions imposed by host nations and the services. For example, Japan restricts the shipping of vehicles made after March 31, 1976. Egypt restricts the shipping of vehicles more than four years old. Service members are advised to check with their service for specific details.

In some cases, countries require such extensive modifications to vehicles that service members can't afford it or don't want to pay that much. So, they store their vehicles while they're overseas, Barborak noted.

Storage isn't cheap. MTMC current pays contractors $224 per month per vehicle in the Midwest and on the West Coast, and $209 per month on the East Coast, he said.

Barborak cataloged MTMC contractors' services: "Storage is not humidity controlled, but it's all indoors. The vehicle is covered and the contractor is required to start the engine to recycle the heat and air conditioning every 30 days. He's also required to periodically move the vehicle to prevent flat spots on the tires." He said contractors follow the manufacturers' recommendations for long-term storage.

Under the MTMC program, vehicles may be turned in at any of 39 vehicle- processing centers operated by American Auto Logistics or the Defense Department.

Service members are advised to change the oil, clean the vehicle and ensure that it's mechanically safe before turning it in for long-term storage. While members can still make private arrangements, they'll only be reimbursed for the actual storage cost, not to exceed the government's constructed cost.

If a vehicle is already in private storage, an owner who wants to switch to the MTMC program can do so. However, the member must arrange delivery of the vehicle to the vehicle processing center with proper documentation, including a power of attorney.

When returning home from overseas, service members are required to give the contractor at least 30 days to prepare their vehicle.

"What's good about the program is, service members doing back-to-back overseas assignments, say from Japan to Germany, don't have to return to the states to remove their car from storage," Barborak said. "All they have to do is provide a copy of their orders to the vehicle-processing center. The contractor would remove the vehicle from storage and ship it to the processing center closest to the member's new duty station in Germany."

If the service member is returning to an assignment on the West Coast and his vehicle is stored on the East Coast, the contractor will line haul it across the country to the vehicle processing center closest to the service member's duty station.

Contractors are liable for up to $20,000 for loss or damage to the vehicle while it's in storage.

"It's a great program because it provides service members with one-stop shopping," Barborak said. "Once the car goes into storage, the member doesn't have to worry about the vehicle because it's stored with a government-approved contractor who is required to maintain it in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations."

For additional information, contact your nearest installation transportation office, or American Auto Logistics at (845) 783-6279. Online data are also available at www.mtmc.army.mil, or download a copy of the latest "Storing Your POV" pamphlet at www.mtmc.army.mil/CONTENT/8810/DBCN8810.pdf.

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