BRIDGETON, MO (KPLR) – Military personnel returning from overseas assignments are fuming, as the company contracted to ship home their personal cars has fallen painfully behind schedule in shipping. Some are calling for the government to pull the $305 million contract.
Cars are arriving at the International Auto Logistics (IAL) lot in Bridgeton by the truckload. And so, seemingly, are the angry soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen. These troops are coming home, and they’re trying to bring their personal vehicles. But those cars are running very late.
Staff Sergeant Will Jones’ vehicle was two weeks behind schedule, and he’s heard horror stories from nearly everyone he knows who has shipped a car in the last three months.
“Three weeks, a month, a month and a half or two months being not here yet or whatever,” he said.
For others, it’s a firsthand tale. Army Captain Logan Biggs, in from Wisconsin, was pulling out of the Bridgeton location in the BMW he bought while stationed in Germany. The car arrived 48 days after it was promised.
“I can’t comment on what specifically was the hang up. I know the service was great, but the vehicle being lost in translation somewhere or the shipping just taking an excessive amount of time.”
The fact is, FOX 2 spent most of Tuesday morning outside the lot, and we didn’t meet a single person who saw their vehicle arrive on time.
Specialist James Pierce drove from Illinois to pick up a car that was due July 2nd.
Marine wife Samantha Breeding said she was one of the lucky ones, running only eight days behind schedule on her shipment from Hawaii. She told us of a pal who wasn’t nearly as fortunate.
“My friend’s car got lost,” she said. “They couldn’t find it. It was going somewhere else then whenever she got to California to pick it up it was in Virginia.”
Stories like this have been coming from all over the country. A spokesperson for IAL concedes in a statement that the company’s takeover of the military’s vehicle shipments has been rocky, but tries to put a positive face on things.
“"IAL has delivered thousands of vehicles within the required delivery date,” spokesperson Amanda Nunez wrote. “However, the record setting volume of requests in June and July has caused delays. On time delivery will improve going forward."
Nunez did not address the numerous other reasons car owners were being given for their tardy vehicles.
“Customs was the biggest part,” Pierce says he was told. “And they were also telling me they were having issues with the Teamsters or the longshoremen that work at the docks.”
He says he believes the company, pointing out that his car, shipped from Germany, made the European leg of the trip with no problems.
Every person we spoke to was complementary of the service they received “on the ground” at the St. Louis center. Some were more forgiving than others regarding the bigger picture logistical problems.
Breeding, speaking of her husband, said this was no way to treat a marine.
Asked if IAL should retain the massive government contract she said, “Absolutely not. Going to Hawaii we didn’t have any issues. Our car was there before it was supposed to be there.”
Many agree. A petition is posted on Facebook demanding IAL be fired.
The Facebook page discussing the problems with IAL is here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1451241371794935/
The full statement to Fox 2 from IAL Spokesperson Amanda Nunez is here
“We are incredibly fortunate to have more than 20,000 customers relying on IAL’s services and it is our goal to deliver 100% of these vehicles on-time, every time. As is with the case with any company that provides a service, there is always room for improvement, so by combing through our internal data and working with our partners around the world, IAL is working around the clock to ensure all deliveries are made on time. Additionally, IAL has partnered with USTRANSCOM and SDDC to form a working group to strategize and monitor process improvements as well as opened a new call center."
"IAL has delivered thousands of vehicles within the required delivery date. However, the record setting volume of requests in June and July has caused delays. On time delivery will improve going forward."
"We appreciate the patience of the military personnel we serve as we work through the busy season providing them not only what they demand but deserve."