Officials with U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) said that despite the drama over cars seemingly lost in shipping to and from overseas locations, the switch to a cheaper contractor was worth it for the cost savings alone.
Before May 1 contractor American Auto Logistics (AAL) was responsible for shipping cars for troops stationed overseas or in Alaska and Hawaii. But a new company, International Auto Logistics (IAL), was awarded the contract after the DoD decided to put it through competition last year.
IAL was originally supposed to start work on the contract in December of last year -- long enough before the height of moving season to get all the kinks worked out of their system, TRANSCOM officials have said. Instead, a series of legal protests from AAL delayed the start to the beginning of what has been called the busiest PCS vehicle shipping season in recent memory.
The result? Chaos. Some service members on a Facebook page dedicated to the debacle report that their cars are more than 90 days late.
Still, TRANSCOM says the savings to the government makes the chaos work it.
"This is PR-speak and not really something I believe. TRANSCOM failed. SDDC failed. Neither agency ensured that IAL was ready to do this job," wrote Patrick Mckimmie, who, according to his Facebook postings, shipped his Jeep through the company. "Telling us that we get additional protections with IAL while IAL is still failing and telling us that AAL's contract was flawed when they met their targets = butt covering. Taxpayers pay for those first seven days of rentals, and I am sure taxpayers will end up paying for all the rentals and damage claims filed to IAL, one way or another. So no, I find most of what this guy said to be smoke blown up my rear."
Others said pointing to the cost savings is insulting.
"Really would like to know how [Gail] Jorgenson [Director of Acquisition for U.S. Transportation Command] would feel if it were her car that was missing for month, customer service never available to find out where your car even is,than finally got to pick it up filthy and broke like so many on here," wrote Bine Skaggs, who reported on the page that her Jeep is delayed at the Norfolk, Va. vehicle processing center. "Words like these don't help of feeling like someone smacked you right in the face and just don't care about anything else then saving a few bucks."
Photos courtesy of Facebook.