Many service members may not know of their entitlements when shipping personal vehicles as they move overseas or return stateside, according to U.S. Transportation Command officials.
“Our customers have reasonable expectations on the delivery of their vehicles,” said Air Force Brig. Gen. Paul H. Guemmer. “I know I do.”
Guemmer is the Deputy Director (Military) for the Strategy, Capabilities, Policy, and Logistics Directorate at Transcom, which is headquartered here. He is responsible for DoD’s transportation strategy across the entire Joint Deployment and Distribution Enterprise, to include infrastructure, long-range programs, future requirements, coalition integration, and mobility partnerships with industry.
Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command is the Privately Owned Vehicle program manager and Transcom is the global POV contract administrator. These two commands work closely together in managing and monitoring this critical quality of life contract.
In August 2014, SDDC and Transcom stood up a team of transportation experts to quickly address the most significant challenges and concerns military customers are facing when shipping their privately owned vehicles, known as POVs. On May 1, 2014, International Auto Logistics, known as IAL, assumed responsibility for the Global Privately Owned Vehicle Contract, also known as GPCIII. Under the terms of the contract, IAL is responsible for processing, transporting and storing vehicles owned by military personnel and Department of Defense civilian employees bound for, or returning from, overseas duty assignments.
SDDC officials have acknowledged that the transfer to the new POV contractor did not go as smoothly as it could have. They want customers to know that SDDC is aware of and understands the issues some of them have experienced while shipping their privately owned vehicle, adding that solving those issues is the command's No. 1 priority. They also want their customers to know what SDDC and Transcom are doing to help resolve these issues and facilitate a smoother and more effective transition to the new contractor.
Guemmer listed reasonable customer expectations as on-time delivery, professional and timely customer service, a damage-free vehicle and compensation for damages if they occur, and rental cars.
What happens when expectations aren’t met?
“There is a system of recourse in place,” Guemmer said. “For vehicles overdue fewer than seven days, the first step is for military members to contact the local personal property, personnel support detachment or finance office.”
Guemmer, who also heads Transcom’s Privately Owned Vehicle Fusion Cell, explained that reimbursement for rental cars for military members for those first seven days is capped at $30 a day or $210 a week, based on DoD’s Joint Travel Regulation. The government then deducts those charges from IAL’s bill.
He pointed out that if rental car rates exceed that amount for days one through seven, an inconvenience claim can be submitted to the contractor, International Auto Logistics. The JTR entitlement does not apply to DoD civilians, but they can get rental car reimbursement by filing an inconvenience claim with IAL.
Filing claims for reimbursement
“Military members inconvenienced beyond seven days because of a missed delivery date can file a claim with IAL,” Guemmer said. “They, and DoD civilians, can also file an inconvenience claim for temporary lodging if vehicle delivery is delayed.”
IAL will consider reimbursement for amounts exceeding entitlements on a case-by-case basis and based on circumstances, provide reimbursement.
“Although IAL pays for inconvenience claims for lodging and rental car expenses, customers can file for other expenses with proper documentation and rationale for IAL’s consideration,” Guemmer said.
For vehicle damages, IAL provides customers an option for on-site settlement for claimed damage. Claims for additional damage can be reported within a reasonable period. The military claims office will not pay out for the same damages.
Customers deserve best treatment
“Our personnel deserve the best treatment from us and those we contract to serve with us,” Guemmer said. “Customers who are not getting what they deserve when dealing directly with IAL can always get in touch with the contracting officer representative at the vehicle processing center or by emailing the USTRANSCOM POV Inspector General Customer Support Team.”
He added, “Our assessment teams and contracting officer representatives have surveyed container freight sites and every vehicle at those facilities. We are reconciling our data with IAL’s to ensure information on the IAL website is accurate and timely.”