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Military says about 70 percent of troops' vehicles being shipped will be late

The company hired to deliver the personal vehicles of troops and civilian defense workers around the world has successfully transported just 7,987 of the 27,358 vehicles it is shipping, and 70 percent of those still in transit will arrive late, according to an email by military officials released this week.

The figures show that an additional 2,250 vehicles are awaiting pickup by their owners. But many have complained that International Auto Logistics of Brunswick, Ga., does not notify them when vehicles arrive at processing centers.

These numbers contradict IAL's claim to the Tampa Bay Times last week that it had shipped 34,000 vehicles since taking over the work May 1, a number the company said was the highest in the history of the program.

The figures were provided in an Aug. 19 email sent by James Sims, command sergeant major of the Army Material Command, to the sergeant major of the Army. The email provides the first detailed assessment of the scope of problems with the program.

The military has sent a "letter of concern" to IAL saying it is dissatisfied with its plan to correct problems shipping vehicles, the email said. It also notes the military is working with IAL to speed deliveries.

The Times first reported in April that IAL did not exist two months before it filed its successful bid on a government contract potentially worth $919 million. Its parent company, however, has considerable experience shipping vehicles.

U.S. Transportation Command has defended IAL and blamed problems on the New Jersey firm that lost the contract, American Auto Logistics. IAL wrested the contract from AAL with a bid that was $38 million lower.

TransCom officials have said AAL litigation and bid protests delayed the start of IAL's contract from December to May, the height of the moving season; this compounded difficulties for the new company taking over the business, it said.

But that explanation was contradicted by the command's own records, which show TransCom officials anticipated the delay would be necessary even before the contract was awarded and litigation began.

An IAL spokeswoman said the 34,000-vehicle figure provided earlier included cars in AAL's possession that IAL has to pick up and ship itself. IAL otherwise did not respond to a request for comment.

Contact William R. Levesque at levesque@tampabay,com or (813) 226-3432.

Military says about 70 percent of troops' vehicles being shipped will be late 08/21/14 [Last modified: Thursday, August 21, 2014 8:59pm]

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