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TMC 2024


Federal Contract for Military Moves Deemed 'Not Balanced'

Service Contract Act Would Require Movers to Pay Employees at Costly Rates, Making Pricing 'Not Compensatory,' Lovejoy Says
Bill Lovejoy
Moving & Storage Conference Chairman Bill Lovejoy says "there are lots of problems" with the federal military moving contract. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

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NEW ORLEANS — A panel of top executives at large moving companies continued to blast provisions of a $20 billion federal contract to move military families as unworkable and lacking an opportunity for many movers to make fair profits for their services.

Speaking at a standing room only session on March 4 at the 2024 Moving & Storage Conference Annual Meeting, the executives each indicated that their individual companies would not participate in the Global Household Goods contract on the advice of their attorneys and based on in-depth analysis of the contract’s conditions.

Their concerns include the contract’s liability insurance requirements, which the moving companies deemed excessive.

The federal Service Contract Act also would require movers to pay employees at costly rates, making their pricing “not compensatory," according to Bill Lovejoy, CEO of Republic Moving and Storage and chairman of the Moving & Storage Conference of American Trucking Associations.

RELATED: Contractor Passes IT Systems Test for Military Moves

“This is not a balanced agreement as far as I can see,” he said. “There are lots of problems with it. I can’t possibly sign it. Please have your lawyers look at it. How can you bid a contract without knowing what the cost might be?”

Tim Helenthal

National Van Lines CEO Tim Helenthal was among the executives describing the weaknesses of the contract. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics) 

Tim Helenthal, CEO of National Van Lines, described the contract as “significantly onerous.”

“We don’t do this for practice. We’re in business to make money,” said Jack Griffin, CEO of Atlas World Group. “We would like for this to be successful. We’re as patriotic as the next person. But we’re not going to do it at a loss. We just want to get a fair return.”

Atlas World Group ranks No. 53 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.

There were hopes that the Global Household Goods moving contract, awarded by the U.S. Transportation Command to Houston-based HomeSafe Alliance in March 2022, would be operational by last summer, the busiest season for military moves.

Instead, the command’s tentative plans call for up to 2% of moves this summer under the new contract and then increasing that percentage as soon as September.

HomeSafe said it conducted its own market-based analysis to determine viable rates for performing moves under the contract.

Homesafe logo

“Hundreds of high-quality moving companies — including many in the current military move program — have independently analyzed our rates and determined they can make a profit through our program,” the contractor has said.

The Moving & Storage Conference Annual Meeting runs March 4-6 and is co-located with the 2024 Technology & Maintenance Council Annual Meeting and Transportation Technology Exhibition.

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