Are you stationed overseas? Have you been feeling a bit frustrated with the lack of grocery goods at your installation’s commissary?
Finally, military families stationed at OCONUS locations, particularly in the Pacific, will start seeing commissary shelves fill up again because of an agreement reached between the appropriate groups responsible for shipping goods for the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA). The agreement made with the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union should be the start of getting the whole shipment process back on track.
Despite the resolution, DeCA has warned military families that it would take some time to smooth out delivery issues and allow overseas commissary inventories to return to 100 percent.
You should still experience some lag time, if you’re located in countries like Japan, South Korea, Guam and Hawaii.
How long exactly will the hold-up last? Hopefully, it will only take 3 to 4 months to get back to full inventory levels.
What caused the problem? The problem began when union disputes occurred with principal parties as well as computer mishaps that caused a breakdown in critical shipment deliveries. As a result, it caused major delays in supplying OCONUS commissaries.
Luckily, DeCA has been doing everything in their power since the delivery disruption, which was apparent starting December 2014 and continued into the New Year. Around that time, DeCA started using U.S Transportation Command to aid in shipping important groceries that would be difficult to find otherwise, including dairy products and certain meats. Those products are airlifted to the needed locations, which will continue until the inventory issues are straightened out.
According to a news release, DeCA Director and CEO Joseph H. Jeu said “we will continue to monitor and manage closely our supply situation in the Pacific and as always, our mission is to ensure our military and their families in the Pacific have access to full commissary benefit.”
So, if you’re OCONUS, be sure to stock up when you can and try and utilize the local grocery stores to the best of your ability. I realize that this situation is a challenge, but at least there is an end in sight now for military families.