Sen. Mark Warner

Sen. Mark Warner ()

A senator has blasted the U.S. Transportation Command’s “passive” response to the plight of thousands of servicemembers inconvenienced by a military contractor’s mishandling of change-of-station vehicle shipments.

Since May, when International Auto Logistics took over the contract for shipping Defense Department employees’ vehicles, hundreds have complained to the Defense Department and online that vehicles have arrived late, if at all, and decried poor customer service.

“This is unfair, inconvenient, and unacceptable,” U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va., said in a letter on Wednesday to Transportation Command. “While I recognize that the contractor is responsible for these deliveries, I expect TRANSCOM to be actively engaged, as advocates and intermediaries for the servicemembers, until this problem is solved.”

Warner said he was “stunned” when TRANSCOM officials told him earlier this month that International had delivered only about 20 percent of vehicles on time in July.

“It was also disturbing that Transportation Command officials were unable to tell us how many automobiles are currently overdue, though it is apparently a large percentage of those being shipped,” Warner said in the letter, which was published on his website.

Warner asked for a meeting with TRANSCOM to discuss what additional measures the military unit will take to track vehicles and help servicemembers who are paying out of pocket for rentals while waiting for their vehicles.

A Performance Work Statement for the vehicle-shipping contract, posted on the Federal Business Opportunity website, indicates that International is required to report the number of vehicles it delivers on time each month. However, TRANSCOM officials said in a news release issued on Thursday that federal regulations prohibit the disclosure of “specific contract performance data.”

Transportation officials also said the vehicle shipping situation had “improved dramatically in August.” Officials said they randomly sampled 500 vehicles turned in after Aug. 1 and found more than 95 percent were delivered on time.

The contract requires at least 98 percent of vehicles be delivered on time.

Amanda Nunez, a spokeswoman for International, said in a statement the company has started performing two inventories a month, which has improved tracking. Nunez said that “new cars coming into the system are moving through with little issue.”

Statistics provided in an email sent by U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. James K. Sims with U.S. Army Materiel Command were far less positive. Sims said that as of Aug. 19, the company had processed had processed “27,358 vehicles: 14,154 vehicles are currently in transit with approximately 70 percent late in meeting the required delivery date.”

TRANSCOM did not respond immediately to a request for comment. In the news release, it said that International had taken possession of 31,528 vehicles and delivered 13,760. More than 2,300 vehicles are ready to be picked up, the command said.

TRANSCOM praised International for quickly reimbursing people inconvenienced by a delayed vehicle.

International is “living up to their promise and liability by making good-faith efforts to resolve service member claims for compensation quickly, well before the 90 days required under the contract,” said Air Force Brig. Gen. Paul Guemmer in the release. “We will continue to work with IAL to provide timely support to service members who have been inconvenienced in this process.” Twitter: @AMathisStripes

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