According to a public service announcement published by NSA Souda Bay's public affairs office, the local air carrier in Souda Bay had for years prohibited the shipping of liquid items via MPS at NSA Souda Bay.
"Our postal management team received a lot of inquiries from customers about the air carrier restrictions on liquids in MPS mail," said Frank Vargas, Deputy Site Director for NAVSUP FLC Sigonella's site at NSA Souda Bay. "Using their expert knowledge of international shipping rules, our postal team at the Athens Aerial Mail Terminal responded to these inquiries by initiating negotiations with the airline that carries mail to and from NSA Souda Bay.”
Joel Lee, NAVSUP FLC's Mail Control Manager at the command's Athens Aerial Mail Terminal (AMT), led the NSA Souda Bay postal team's efforts during the six-month-long negotiations with the airline partner.
He said one of the keys to successful negotiation with the airline carrier was building their trust in the command's commitment to strictly enforcing the packaging standards that will mitigate the potential damage caused by liquids in transit.
"We've changed our culture locally in which we no longer view airline personnel as simply commercial agents, but as partners who are just as critical to our success as our own shipmates," Lee said.
He added that another key to successful negotiations involved a sincere effort on the part of the postal team to foster transparency while they prepared communications materials for its customers that instructed them how to properly pack their liquid goods.
"We showed these public education materials to our airline partner in advance and encouraged their inputs," Lee said.
One of the hurdles in the negotiation process was finding packaging products the airline would approve for shipping liquids securely.
"To overcome the packaging challenge, we partnered with the Navy Exchange to find a local source for more durable boxes that the commercial airline would accept," Vargas said. "Now, those boxes are for sale at our NEX."
The initiative gives MPS customers aboard NSA Souda Bay access to the same mailing privileges as those at NAVSUP FLC Sigonella's other postal sites at Naval Air Stations Sigonella, Italy; Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy; and Naval Station Rota, Spain.
"This postal initiative upgrade demonstrates the hard work and determination of NAVSUP FLC Sigonella's postal team to find ways to improve quality of life services for warfighters, their dependents and other authorized personnel throughout our areas of operation," Vargas said.
NAVSUP FLC Sigonella is one of NAVSUP's eight globally-positioned logistics centers that provides for the full range of the Fleet's military operations. NAVSUP FLC Sigonella delivers solutions for logistics, business and support services to the Navy, Military Sealift Command, Joint and Allied Forces throughout Navy Region Europe-Africa-Southwest Asia.
For more news from Naval Supply Systems Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/navsup/.