Material Handling Equipment--A Weak Link in the Defense Logistics Chain

LCD-79-212: Published: Aug 10, 1979. Publicly Released: Aug 10, 1979.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Although material handling equipment is vital to moving cargo efficiently, it has apparently remained low on the Department of Defense's (DOD) list of priorities when competing for resources. This is evidenced by the fact that the material handling equipment fleet has not kept pace with the shift from break-bulk to containerized shipping practices, and problems identified years ago still have not been resolved.

Much of the material handling equipment used overseas is old and will soon exceed its life expectancy, if it has not already. Maintenance of material handling equipment has been adversely affected because of its age and lengthy delays in obtaining repair parts. There are shortages of material handling equipment needed to efficiently handle and process cargo shipments. In terms of efficiency, material handling equipment used overseas is marginally adequate for peacetime operations. More importantly, problems with material handling equipment could result in units being unable to meet surge requirements of a wartime contingency.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of DOD should establish a realistic and timely schedule for: replacing the overaged and hard to maintain equipment; acquiring new and specialized items including support equipment, needed to efficiently handle containers and containerized cargo; and adding needed items to claimant stocks and war reserves. The Secretary should also make sure that material handling equipment needs get the priority they deserve in competing for funds, and he should direct the services to survey their material handling operations to ensure that: equipment operators properly maintain their equipment, docking facilities are capable of receiving containerized shipments of supplies, containers are loaded so that they can be easily emptied, and parts needed to repair equipment are provided in a timely manner.

    Agency Affected:


Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Mar 13, 2018

Feb 28, 2018

Feb 16, 2018

Feb 15, 2018

Feb 6, 2018

Jan 31, 2018

Jan 18, 2018

Jan 10, 2018

Looking for more? Browse all our products here