Words by Bridget Foster.
The Department of Defense has changed contractors handling the shipping and storage of privately owned vehicles, resulting in the closure of seven centers effective May 1. International Auto Logistics (IAL) a subsidiary of International Auto Processing, won the $305 million contract back in October and will provide shipping and storing services through the end of September 2015.
The decision to close the seven centers was based on an analysis of how many vehicles were being processed through the centers, which is directly related to the number of troops assigned in areas where the sites are located. Four of the closed centers are in the continental United States: Edison, NJ; Richmond, CA; New Orleans, LA; and Orlando, FL. The remaining three centers that are closing are in Europe: RAF Croughton and RAF Menwith Hill, which are located in England; and the VPC in Seville, Spain. (There are actually eight centers closing because the Mannheim, Germany VPC was closed earlier due to military reorganization). After May 1, there will be 35 processing centers left in operation.
According to Navy Capt. Aaron Stanley, director of the Personal Property directorate for the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, a decision to close the Livorno, Italy and Schweinfurt, Germany centers has been postponed. The seven closing facilities will accept new vehicles for processing up until April 30 but employees of the previous contractor, American Auto Logistics, will be available at the closed facilities through August 1 to service vehicles that have already been processed; the facilities will remain open until all of those vehicles have been delivered to their owners.
Servicemembers with vehicles currently in the VPC system will continue to be able to track the shipments of their vehicles through American Auto Logistics’ website until all vehicles have been delivered. The new website for International Auto Logistics is www.pcsmypov.com.
Under the contract, 18 new VPCs (nine in the US and nine overseas) have been established in the same cities as currently operating VPCs but at different locations. The remaining 17 VPCs will stay in the same buildings but will close for the first two days in May so that the transition can take place. Only emergency drop-offs will be accepted on those two days and the centers will reopen for all vehicles on May 5.
“Our focus is for a seamless transition,” said Stanley. “We don’t see the need for any major changes in the process used to ship and store privately owned vehicles.” SDDC officials have been meeting daily with International Auto Logistics to ensure the smooth transition of services.
“We are very happy to be able to serve our servicemembers. We want this to be a smooth transition for them,” said Doug Tipton, CEO and President of IAL. Tipton also stated that International Auto Logistics places a priority on hiring veterans and that in many instances, it will be veterans serving their fellow servicemembers.