USDOT Launches Public/Private Data Sharing Program Aiming to Ease Supply Chain Crunch

Washington, D.C. — The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) is launching a new pilot program aimed at easing the supply chain crunch.

In an announcement by the White House on Tuesday, the Biden Administration said it has formed the Freight Logistics Optimization Works (FLOW), an information sharing initiative to pilot key freight information exchange between parts of the goods movement supply chain.




 

FLOW includes eighteen initial participants across the supply chain, including private businesses, trucking, warehousing, and logistics companies, ports, and more.

The White House said these stakeholders will “work together with the Administration to develop a proof-of-concept information exchange” in hopes of easing supply chain congestion and speeding up the movement of goods.

“The goods movement chain is almost entirely privately operated and spans shipping lines, ports, terminal operators, truckers, railroads, warehouses, and cargo owners such as retailers,” the White House explained. “These different actors have made great strides in digitizing their own internal operations, but they do not always exchange information with each other. This lack of information exchange can cause delays as cargo moves from one part of the supply chain to another, driving up costs and increasing goods movement fragility.”




 

Further, the Biden Administration stated: “FLOW will test the idea that cooperation on foundational freight digital infrastructure is in the interest of both public and private parties… and address issues such as ensuring early return dates are consistent across partners, measuring more accurate chassis availability and understanding aggregate dwell time throughout the supply chain.”

The pilot program will be implemented and overseen by the USDOT.

 

At a roundtable discussion at the White House, USDOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg expressed optimism that public/private data sharing will lead to improved supply chain efficiencies.

“Nobody wants a federally owned and operated airline or warehouse or dairy or shipping company, but we need to figure out how the federal [government] interacts with the private sector,” Secretary Buttigieg said. “What we know is if an importer doesn’t know the location of their cargo or if a warehouse doesn’t have visibility of what’s coming in or if a truck driver doesn’t actually know when in a seven-hour window to hit the port gate or the warehouse, that has consequences in terms of shipping times… business costs, and very importantly right now as we are battling inflation.”




 

Below is a list of initial participants in FLOW.

Port Authorities:

  • Port of Long Beach
  • Port of Los Angeles
  • Georgia Ports Authority

Ocean Carriers:

  • CMA CGM
  • MSC

Terminal Operators:

  • Fenix Marine Terminal
  • Global Container Terminals

Business: 

  • Albertsons
  • Gemini Shippers
  • Land O’ Lakes
  • Target
  • True Value

Trucking:

  •  CH Robinson

Chassis:

  • DCLI
  • FlexiVan

Logistics and Warehousing:

  • FedEx
  • Prologis
  • UPS

 


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