Routing Small Shipments of Hazardous or Sensitive Cargo

NSIAD-86-34: Published: Dec 20, 1985. Publicly Released: Dec 20, 1985.

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GAO evaluated the Military Traffic Management Command's (MTMC) actions in response to previous GAO recommendations concerning the routing of small shipments of hazardous or sensitive cargo.

GAO found that MTMC has attempted to comply with earlier report recommendations by: (1) obtaining and issuing additional installation shipping and receiving data; (2) making and documenting cost comparisons; (3) making more disclosures of shipping requirements; (4) maintaining more distribution records; and (5) establishing standard operating procedures which assign responsibilities and define procedures for selecting carrier service on small shipments of ammunition, explosives, and weapons. However, GAO found that MTMC instructions and guidelines are sometimes incomplete, unclear, or not followed, resulting in: (1) the preclusion of the use of the lowest-cost air taxi service; (2) reliance on incomplete and conflicting information; (3) questionable cost analysis; and (4) inconsistent consideration of shipment time factors.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Defense Traffic Management Regulation (DTMR) was published on July 31, 1986, and was scheduled for update during 1987. DTMR contains sections on shippers' requests for routing and the Automated Transportation Facility Guide format and preparation instructions. The definition and application of the required delivery date will be incorporated into the next DTMR update.

    Recommendation: The Commander, MTMC, should revise and expand MTMC instructions to shippers for submitting requests for routing advice.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: Military Traffic Management Command

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The MTMC letter, dated April 8, 1986, provided MTMC area commands with procedures to challenge shippers' requirements. Records of all challenges are maintained on routing worksheets. The area commands have complied with this requirement. To ensure the guidance is followed, the procedures are an item of interest for the MTMC Office of Inspector General inspection visits.

    Recommendation: The Commander, MTMC, should make sure MTMC guidelines call for certain challenge criteria on shippers' requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: Military Traffic Management Command

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Action on items one and four of this recommendation have been completed. DOD believes that because of Service disagreement, resolution is not possible regarding item 3. Moreover, it feels that the current state of motor carrier vs. taxi rates makes this recommendation moot. GAO disagrees, but feels that keeping the recommendation open is pointless.

    Recommendation: The Commander, MTMC, should verify routinely that MTMC guidelines are followed. These instructions and guidelines should specifically: (1) require shippers to certify the necessity for palletization when it is used on small shipments; (2) provide for a requirement that information on air taxi landing fields be continuously updated and any discrepancies between the shippers' information and MTMC information be resolved quickly; (3) require development and use of a MTMC-approved methodology for computing air taxi pickup and delivery costs, which would result in a greater degree of consistency in the costs among installations, and which would be available to the air taxi industry; and (4) define the required delivery date as it is to be used in requesting routing advice and how it, along with the transportation priority, will be used in making the mode and carrier choice.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: Military Traffic Management Command

 

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