Supply chain data-sharing pilot aims to ease shipping bottlenecks

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The Freight Logistics Optimization Works initiative looks to mitigate supply chain disruption and improve the flow of goods to consumers by fostering information-sharing between port operators and trucking, warehousing and logistics companies.

The White House announced forthcoming updates to the data flow behind the nation’s supply chains, in a bid to alleviate the strain felt by consumers since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Freight Logistics Optimization Works, aptly shortened to FLOW, looks to foster an information-sharing initiative between eighteen key players in industries like trucking, warehousing and logistics companies, as well as port operations. Together with officials from the Biden-Harris administration, these stakeholders will develop a new proof-of-concept information exchange to mitigate supply chain disruption and congestion, while improving the flow of goods to consumers. 

“Since taking office, the Biden-Harris Administration has been focused on addressing supply chain vulnerabilities and congestion, working to speed up the movement of goods and lower costs for families,” the press release reads. “The administration is also focused on addressing the longer-term weaknesses in our nation’s supply chains, the result of decades of underinvestment, outsourcing and offshoring, instead of investment in long-term security, sustainability and resilience.”

Officials with the Department of Transportation will helm the program, and collaborate with entities like the Port of Los Angeles, the Georgia Ports Authority, the Fenix Marine Terminal, Land O’ Lakes, Target, UPS and FedEx. 

These partners were selected to represent diverse organizations from different industries of various sizes. As part of the FLOW pilot, organizations will share data and information on freight and supply chain schedules and operation.

Fundamental goals to the initiative include mitigating congestion at the port of Savannah, Ga., reducing dwell time at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, in Calif., and establishing a sustainable pace for supply chain movement. 

“FLOW will be able to 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 release said. 

The White House also confirmed a web page for FLOW will be launched by Transportation a month after the pilot program’s launch. 

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg commented on Twitter that the data sharing bedrock within FLOW will help streamline a clogged supply chain.

“Sharing data is key to making the most of the physical infrastructure we have,” he said. “Meanwhile, we're also enhancing and adding capacity—and getting creative to help supply chains move quicker.”

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