U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., announced he will begin looking directly into the problems plaguing International Auto Logistics LLC of Brunswick, Ga., a federal contractor that received a nearly $1 billion contract from the U.S. Transportation Command, based at Scott, to ship military members’ privately owned vehicles.
Durbin said that he appreciated the hard work of Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, the commander of Transcom, based at Scott Air Force Base.
But Durbin remains “deeply concerned regarding the performance of International Auto Logistics,” according to a statement he issued Friday.
“It shouldn’t take six months of inquiries and complaints for IAL to meet its obligation to our nation’s servicemembers and the basic requirements of its contract,” Durbin said.
As chairman of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Durbin continued, “I have begun inquiries into the performance of this contract, and I intend to get to the bottom of what went wrong and how to make sure it does not happen again.”
Almost as soon as IAL took over the private vehicle shipping contract in early May, complaints from military families started pouring into both Transcom and the Army Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, also based at Scott, about missing cars, late delivery dates and problems with customs paperwork.
Another major source of frustration was IAL’s many failures to communicate with bewildered and stressed-out troops looking for their cars.
Both Transcom and IAL have blamed IAL’s problems on a six-month delay caused by protests and appeals filed by the previous contractor, American Auto Logistics.
When IAL finally took over the contract, on May 1, it was in the midst of the peak season for the shipment of servicemembers’ vehicles.
In early August, in response to a rising tide of customer complaints, Selva ordered Transcom to set up a special 12-person “fusion cell” team consisting to logistics and supply chain experts.
The team’s mission was to help IAL unravel the problems behind the contractor’s inability to track thousands of privately owned vehicles being shipped to the United States from Europe and Hawaii.
A few weeks later, Selva sent teams of inspectors to visit ports in Germany, Hawaii and four sites in the continental United States to look for the missing vehicles.