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Military Moves
Property Shipment General Information
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(Note: The below article is from a Navy "All Hands" Magazine article. While it is written with Navy personnel in mind, for the most part, the information is applicable for members of all of the services.

Getting started

The first and most important step to take when arranging to move household goods is to go to the experts — your command’s Personal Property Shipping Office (PPSO) — for the facts.

A successful move is not a matter of chance. It is the result of planning and a lot of hard work. If you expect a good move, you must play an active role.

Each branch of the armed services operates a PPSO — in some cases they might be jointly staffed offices. Regardless of the branch serving you, you will have experts working for you.

The earlier you meet with the personnel at your PPSO, the greater your chance of moving on the date you select.

Since moving affects the entire family, you and your spouse should attend the interview with the PPSO. This is especially true when the service member may have to leave for a new duty station before his or her family, leaving the spouse behind to complete the move.

The counselor can advise you of the weight you are authorized to ship, the places you are authorized to ship to and from and the number of shipments you are authorized to make. Get the phone numbers for the destination personal property office.

The counselor will assist you in preparing the required documentation for each authorized shipment. You will be required to sign these documents and verify that all the information is correct. Incorrect documentation could delay your shipment and/or result in excess cost to you. You will need four complete copies of orders (and amendments, if any) for each shipment.

If you can’t personally visit the transportation office, you may appoint your spouse or someone else to act on your behalf. Your legal assistance office can assist you in obtaining a power of attorney, the preferred type of appointment.

What can I ship?

You may ship household personal effects and professional books, papers and equipment. Unless you are moving to a restricted area, you may also ship household items that may include spare parts for a privately-owned vehicle, motorcycles and boats. Consult your local PPSO on other items that may qualify for shipment. Your personal property counselor will provide you with a list of unauthorized items.

Weight limitations

Several factors govern the weight allowance for household goods you can ship at government expense: your pay grade, whether or not you have family members and the location of your new duty station.

You may separate professional items and authorized consumables from the rest of your property so they may be packed, marked and weighed separately. When these items are properly listed on the inventory, their weight is not counted as part of your weight allowance.

Professional books, papers and equipment do not include office, household or shop fixtures, furniture (such as bookcases, desks, file cabinets, etc.) or sports equipment.

Unaccompanied baggage consists of items you need immediately on arrival at your destination, pending receipt of your household goods. It is packed and shipped separately from your household goods. This shipment is charged against your total prescribed weight allowance.

The government pays for two different types of storage - temporary (short-term) and non-temporary, long-term storage. The total weight of all your shipments, shipped or stored, should not exceed your authorized weight allowance.

Boats, boat trailers and the weight additive assessed by the carrier are included in your weight allowance. By definition, this means canoes, skiffs, sailboats, light rowboats, kayaks and dinghies or sculls of any size, may be shipped as household goods. Boats less than 14 feet in length, with no boat trailer, may be shipped as regular household goods. Boats more than 14 feet long, or with a trailer, will be shipped by the one-time-only rate method. You are responsible for paying all costs for special services such as lift-on or lift-off, or boat handling charges.

It is also your responsibility to pay for any additional transportation costs above what it would have cost the government to ship a like weight of household goods. It is almost impossible to move a boat without additional charges.

You are allowed to ship one privately owned vehicle (POV) at government expense to or from an overseas area when permitted (some overseas areas restrict shipment of POVs).

Your PPSO counselor will advise you about your entitlements, responsibilities and documents needed for shipping or storing a POV. The counselor will also provide a copy of the booklet, “Shipping Your POV”, which provides general information of value and specific information on the various ports.

After receiving your orders, you may ship household goods or a mobile home between permanent duty stations within CONUS and Alaska. You can also move a mobile home to a designated place if it will be used as a residence by your family members.

You should receive a booklet, “Moving Your Mobile Home,” from the counselor at the PPSO. Moving a mobile home can be very expensive. The average excess cost is usually more than $1,000. don’t move a mobile home without first contacting your local PPSO.


Joint Federal Travel Regulations
Weight Allowances (Pounds)

Grade PCS
O-10 18,000 18,000 2,000
O-9 18,000 18,000 1,500
O-8 18,000 18,000 1,000
O-7 18,000 18,000 1,000
O-6 18,000 18,000 800
O-5 16,000 17,500 800
O-4/W-4 14,000 17,000 800
O-3/W-3 13,000 14,500 600
O-2/W-2 12,500 13,500 600
O-1/W-1 10,000 12,000 600
E-9 12,000 14,500 600
E-8 11,000 13,500 500
E-7 10,500 12,500 400
E-6 8,000 11,000 400
E-5 7,000 9,000 400
E-4** 7,000 8,000 400
E-4* 3,500 7,000 225
E-3 2,000 5,000 225
E-2/E-1 1,500 5,000 225

*Two years or less

**More than two years

Entitlement is limited to 2,000 pounds or 25 percent of household goods weight allowance, whichever is greater, when shipment is to or from an overseas station that has been designated by the military service as a place where public quarters or private housing is furnished with government-owned furnishings.

Note: Effective 1 January, 2003, weight limits increase for lower enlisted:

Category New Rate
E-4 and Below (With Dependents) 8,000 lbs
E-4 (Single) 7,000 lbs
E-3 and Below (Single) 5,000 lbs

Do It Yourself (DITY)

When you just can’t bring yourself to turn over your belongings to strangers, you have an alternative to a commercial move — the Do It Yourself (DITY) move.

To qualify for the DITY program, you must obtain authorization from the PPSO prior to making the move, retain empty and loaded truck weight tickets as well as receipts for all expenditures and submit all required documentation to the Naval Transportation Support Center, Norfolk.

You can have a commercial move and also do a DITY move for items you will need immediately or prefer to handle yourself. The most important thing is to contact the PPSO for assistance prior to the move. See our DITY Move Article for more information.

You and the packers

After your interview, the PPSO makes all the arrangements with a moving company to pack, load and move your property. After arrangements have been made, they should not be changed. Changing moving dates, especially during summer months, can mean a lengthy delay in getting your move rescheduled. Your job doesn’t end with the interview. it’s important that you know your own and the carrier’s responsibilities in handling and moving your property.

You are responsible for dismantling TV antennas; emptying, defrosting and thoroughly washing the inside of a refrigerator and/or freezer; draining water from hot tubs and water beds; removing window air conditioners; disconnecting all electric items from power supplies; disposing of foods that could spill or might spoil in transit; disposing of worn out and unneeded items; removing pictures, curtain rods and mirrors from walls; dismantling and cleaning outdoor play equipment and outdoor structures; and removing all things from the attic, crawl space or similar storage areas within the residence. The list doesn’t end here. You need to read the “It’s Your Move” booklet for additional information.

The carrier is responsible for packing and preparing all of your property for safe shipment. The carrier must protect appliances, use new and clean packing material for linen, clothing and bedding; use new or like new packing material for other items; pack mirrors, pictures and glass table tops in specially designed cartons; protect all finished surfaces; properly roll and protect rugs; mark each carton to show general contents; prepare an accurate and legible inventory; ensure nothing is loaded on the tailgate of the moving van; and remove all excess packing material from your residence.

If you have any problems during your move, either at origin or destination, do not argue with the carrier — call the quality control section of the PPSO and let the experts handle the problem. As the government’s representative, the PPSO has the expertise and the legal authority to identify and solve any problems that may arise during the move.

Contact the PPSO at your new duty station as soon as possible after arrival even though you may not know the delivery address for your household goods. The transportation office needs a telephone number and address where you can be reached on short notice. As soon as you have a delivery address for your household goods, call the transportation office again and provide this information. Be prepared to accept delivery of your property as soon as it arrives. This prevents additional handling and thus reduces the possibility of loss or damage. It also reduces or eliminates storage expenses.

Unless your shipment is insured for a higher valuation, the carrier’s liability for loss or damage occurring during transit is limited to $1.25 times the net weight of the entire shipment. For nontemporary storage shipments booked after Jan. 1, 1997, the warehouse liability is $1.25 times the net weight of the entire shipment. Make sure you discuss the valuation of your household goods with the PPSO counselor so you can purchase additional insurance if the value of your household goods exceeds the government’s basic coverage.

On delivery, the carrier is required to provide you with DD Form 1840/1840R. You and the carrier’s representative are required to annotate the DD Form 1840 with all the damage and loss you observe at time of delivery. If you do not list missing items or obvious damage on this form at delivery, you may forfeit your chance of getting paid for these items.

After delivery, list any additional damage or loss discovered on DD Form 1840R, the reverse side of DD Form 1840, and submit these documents within 70 days of delivery to your local claims office.

If you should fail to list the damage and submit these documents within 70 days, the amount you are paid will almost certainly be less, as the government will not be able to recover from the carrier for items not reported within 70 days.

Annotation of loss or damage on the carrier’s inventory or any other forms is not acceptable for processing a claim. Remember, the carrier has the right to inspect and offer to repair damaged articles. Do not throw anything away unless instructed to do so.


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