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YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — When you move, the best way to ship delicate items such as plasma televisions is in the original box with the original packing material.

But often people don’t have the space to save large boxes. So when it’s time for another government-sponsored move, a custom crate has to be built to replace the missing box.

That crate comes with its own set of problems. It’s expensive to have a crate built; many exceed $300 apiece, base officials said. Additionally, crates don’t offer as much protection as the original box and packing material.

To help fix the problem, the Navy’s U.S. Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Yokosuka has come up with a simple solution: Offer to store the original box or the crate at a FISC warehouse — free of charge.

When the movers are unpacking your plasma TV, grandfather clock or any other precious item, tell them you want to keep the box it came in. Then call FISC, which will not only save your box but will pick it up if you can’t drop it off yourself.

FISC also is offering the service for items gathered during the holiday season.

FISC Yokosuka is currently storing 67 boxes. Herbert Elam, director of House Hold Goods at the U.S. Fleet & Industrial Supply Center Yokosuka, said that should add up to “approximately $23,000 in savings when the boxes are reused.”

Other bases are working to offer the same service.

“It’s a huge cost savings,” said Dave Fletcher, FISC Yokosuka detachment Sasebo transportation manager. “We are hoping to offer the storage service sometime in 2008.”

The service is not open to things like computer boxes and other small items. Only large boxes or any previously built crates are permitted, and with the exception of the original packaging material, they should be empty.

Customers in Yokosuka seeking more information may call 243-7587 or 243-6324.

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