Background

A new federal initiative will pilot test the exchange of freight information between parts of the goods movement supply chain in an effort to ease congestion and speed up the movement of goods.

A White House fact sheet noted that while shipping lines, ports, terminal operators, truckers, railroads, warehouses, and cargo owners have made great strides in digitizing their own internal operations, they do not always exchange information with each other. This lack of digital infrastructure and transparency “makes our supply chains brittle and unable to adapt when faced with a shock,” the fact sheet said.

In response, the Freight Logistics Optimization Works initiative announced March 15 will work to develop by the end of this summer a proof-of-concept of a voluntary, secure national exchange for freight information. According to the fact sheet, 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.

FLOW will be led by the Department of Transportation and have 18 initial participants representing trucking, warehousing, and logistics companies, cargo owners, ports, and others. However, DOT anticipates adding more participants in the future and will soon launch a web page to gauge industry interest in participation and data sharing for a potential long-term FLOW effort.

Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg is continuing a campaign to advocate with federal regulators and lawmakers on solutions to the supply chain crisis. For more information on this campaign and how to participate, please contact Ned Steiner at (202) 730-4970 or via email.

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