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Summer surge expected to be slow this season.

Service members moving in this spring-summer's high personal property move period may be getting a break this year.

Military and trade officials say the number of household goods shipments may not be as large as it has been in the last two to three years. Fewer moves mean a less hectic schedule for personal property firms and their equipment and people. Typically, this translates into an easier move for service members and their families.

"No one knows what to expect, really--but we don't think the volume will be as heavy as last year," said Terry Head, President, Household Goods Forwarder's Association of America, Inc.

Roughly half the annual average of 500,000 personal property moves managed by MTMC occur between May and August.

World events are making it difficult for transporters to pinpoint the number of Department of Defense household goods moves that will be made during this summer surge.

"We have a large number of people graduating from schools this summer," said Jolie Lay, Chief, Personal Property Division. "There are a lot of folks coming out of Leavenworth this year."

As an example, the Army's Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kan., will graduate about 1,100 mid-grade officers this summer.

"Right now, the place is jam-packed with moving vans," said Bob Kerr, of the Fort Leavenworth Public Affairs Office.

Trucks are parked along streets and around cul-desacs across post, said Kerr.

While some schools may have a higher volume of students to move this summer, other issues may lessen the load during this year's peak season.

"Stop Loss will likely keep our numbers down," said Cullen Hutchinson, who works as the Deputy to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Passenger & Personal Property.

The Army Personnel Command has reported that 2,800 soldiers are currently ineligible for separation due to Stop Loss. Soldiers in that group, who would have separated, would have been granted a final shipment.

Military households account for roughly 10 percent of the moves carried out by professional moving companies each year, according to industry estimates. That makes MTMC the movers' biggest customer.

"We're competing with Corporate America for movers," said Hutchinson.

Half the industry's $7 billion in annual revenue comes from the busy four-month period.

"A major corporation might move 1,000 people a year at most," said Hutchinson. "That's a gnat's eyelash to us. Belvoir moves more than that alone."

The personal property moving office at Fort Belvoir, Va, handles moves for service members throughout the National Capital Region, of Washington, D.C.

Due to the low volume of corporate moves, MTMC will not be vying against the private sector for experienced carriers this year, said Head.

When corporate move volume is heavy, carriers rely more on casual labor to support the surge, and this year there will be more experienced movers available for military shipments, said Head. The temporary-hires brought in most summers have a higher instance of claims against them, said Head. With fewer temps, there should be fewer claims.

While a slower season may mean less revenue for the carriers, it means more quality for customers.

The Personal Property Division at MTMC sends a message to installation transportation offices each year, reminding transporters of methods to alleviate some surgerelated burdens.

The official message provides a certain degree of latitude in normal procedures, said Lay--allowing installations to book carriers that might otherwise be considered too expensive. Other suggestions include hiring more summer help.

Transportation officers are also reminded from the message to encourage customers to start their shipment plans as soon as they receive orders.

For service members and defense employees, there are tips available in Army Pamphlet 55-2, "It's Your Move," available online at

The publication includes tips--such as packing small, valuable items to hand-carry to the new duty station.

"It's Your Move" also lists items that may not be shipped as household goods. Live animals and building materials are among these items.

The pamphlet outlines customer responsibilities as well. Items for shipment must be removed from attics and crawl spaces, because movers are not required to enter areas where they can not stand upright.

Besides the military publication, customers can get advice from commercial sources.

The Website of the American Moving and Storage Association can be found at The main page has a link to the organization's customer handbook, and other links with tips on moving fragile or special possessions.

The association is a group of moving professionals committed to providing quality household good shipments.

The Household Goods Forwarder's Association of America is an organization of movers working in close cooperation with the Department of Defense to improve service member moves. Their Website is
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Title Annotation:household moving by military personnel
Author:Dees, Don
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2002
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