US DOT launches Freight Logistics Optimization Works to create a data exchange between supply chain partners to help speed up delivery times and reduce consumer costs; partners include Port of Los Angeles, Target, FedEx, Georgia Ports Authority and MSC

Sample article from our Government & Public Policy

March 17, 2022 (press release) –

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration and U.S. Department of Transportation announced the launch of a major supply chain initiative, Freight Logistics Optimization Works (FLOW), to help speed up delivery times and reduce consumer costs.

FLOW is an information sharing initiative to pilot key freight information exchange between parts of the goods movement supply chain. It includes eighteen initial participants that represent diverse perspectives across the supply chain, including private businesses, trucking, warehousing, and logistics companies, ports, and more — with the hope and expectation to include more partners going forward. 

These key stakeholders will work together with the Administration to develop an information exchange to ease supply chain congestion, speed up the movement of goods, and ultimately cut costs for Americans.

FLOW builds on the Biden Administration’s continued efforts to address supply chain challenges in both the short term and the long term. 


Here’s what industry leaders across the supply chain are saying about this critical initiative:

FLOW Partners

True Value

“We are honored to be recognized as a leader in supply chain management and asked to serve on this White House task force. These have been exceptional times, and I’m very proud of the innovative solutions our entire operations, merchandising and inventory teams employed to get products to our retailers as quickly as possible.” 

-    Chris Kempa, CEO of True Value Company

Port of Los Angeles

"We look forward to helping drive this important initiative forward. This nationwide supply chain data visibility effort will support system resiliency, improve our trade competitiveness and empower American businesses to get products to market with greater consistency and reduced cost."

-    Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka

FedEx

“Data is critical to all participants in the supply chain, and in the ocean environment, there is tremendous opportunity to achieve better optimization of current data by making more effective use of it from origin to delivery point. FedEx supports the administration’s efforts to bring stakeholders together to begin the conversation in FLOW.”

-    Udo Lange, President and CEO of Fedex Logistics

Target

“As part of our commitment to helping find solutions to the challenges facing the U.S. supply chain, Target is pleased to work with White House officials, the U.S. Department of Transportation and industry leaders to increase data transparency to move goods more efficiently and continue to meet the needs of American families and the U.S. economy.”

-    Scott Fremont, Target’s Vice President of Transportation.

Land O’Lakes

“As a farmer owned cooperative, spanning the entire agricultural supply chain, optimization, innovation, and visibility are key components of a healthy and resilient agricultural industry. Land O’Lakes looks forward to partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation to develop solutions to improve the supply chain ecosystem.” 

-    Yone Dewberry, Land O’Lakes SVP & Chief Supply Chain Officer

Direct Chassis Link Inc

“As the largest intermodal chassis provider in the United States, DCLI works closely with partners across the supply chain.  We look forward to supporting the Biden Administration’s Freight Logistics Optimization Works (FLOW) initiative and its efforts to improve data sharing in ways that enhance the movement of cargo through our nation’s ports.” 

-    Bill Shea, DCLI CEO

Port of Long Beach 

“Developing common data standards to facilitate freight movement is an important part of truly bringing our industry into the 21st century. The Biden-Harris Administration is playing an important role in clearing obstacles for much needed coordination across the supply chain to make goods movement more efficient.”

-    Mario Cordero, Port of Long Beach Executive Director

Flexivan

“Any initiative aimed at increasing the level of transparency, generating more standardized and timely shipment/volume data holds the promise of enabling all players across the supply chain to effect improvements in demand planning that will positively impact the efficient flow of goods moving into and out of the U.S.  As a service provider, more consistent, timely and accurate forecast of market demand at a detailed level is critical to asset planning particularly during times of supply chain stress.” 

-    Ronald D Widdows, Flexivan CEO

CH Robinson

“C.H. Robinson is supportive of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s efforts to establish voluntary data sharing standards and best practices that will improve the overall velocity of freight in the U.S. freight transportation system. With approximately 2 billion annual digital transactions with shippers and transportation providers, C.H. Robinson’s scale and data information advantage will be an asset to the Freight Logistics Optimization Works (FLOW) project, and we look forward to collaborating with the other participants.” 

-    Bob Biesterfeld, CEO, C.H. Robinson

Georgia Ports Authority (GPA)

“Greater transparency -- knowing where a vessel or a container is at every stage of transit -- would provide the predictability cargo owners and logistics providers need to optimize the use of resources. Through better communication, aspects of the supply chain such as timing on production, staffing, trucks and chassis, and warehouse space can be fine-tuned for greater efficiency and velocity.”

-    Griff Lynch, GPA Executive Director

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC)

“We are pleased to join and support the FLOW initiative led by the US Department of Transportation as we strongly believe that a common and interoperable digital infrastructure throughout the container shipping industry is a critical step to make supply chains more efficient, secure and resilient. Collaborating with governments and other key industry stakeholders is of paramount importance to MSC and there is no doubt that this initiative will strengthen the foundation for the seamless, end-to-end exchange of information we all need to keep global trade moving today – and tomorrow.” 

-    André Simha, Chief Digital & Information Officer at MSC

Gemini Shippers Association/ Fashion Accessories Shippers Association 

“Peter Drucker famously said, “If you can't measure it, you can't manage it”.  For many small and medium American exporters and importers, the dearth of clear, real time, and accurate supply chain data hinders their ability to cope with and manage the supply chain shocks being experienced in North America today. A robust and holistic supply chain data infrastructure would help all companies, and especially small and medium enterprises, optimize and manage their supply chain operations.” 

-    Kenneth O’Brien, President / CEO of Gemini Shippers Association/ Fashion Accessories Shippers Association

Prologis

“Considering that the flow of goods through Prologis buildings represents 2.5% of global GDP, we play a unique role in the global supply chain. We are pleased to be part of this effort to use data to improve the systems that support the movement of goods in this nation. We’re hopeful this public-private effort will help create a stronger, more resilient supply chain.”

-    Gary Anderson, Chief Operating Officer of Prologis

 

Industry Leaders 

Supply Chain Optimization and Resilience (SCORe) Coalition

“Our current suboptimal data infrastructure and lack of appropriate data sharing undermines the competitiveness of the US supply chain and US national security. The SCOre Coalition applauds the Administration for taking steps to address this urgent issue by endorsing the concept of a national freight data portal and agreeing to work closely with the private sector to bring it to fruition. By enabling greater collaboration, real time visibility, and ability to plan for supply chain actors, a portal would enhance the efficiency, agility, and resilience of the US supply chain and make the US less vulnerable to supply chain disruptions.”

-    Jeff Weiss, chief counsel to the Supply Chain Optimization and Resilience (SCORe) Coalition

Consumer Brands Association

"Today's announcement is a significant step forward in addressing what Consumer Brands has long-identified as a critical supply chain need. The potential of establishing a national freight data portal will add badly needed visibility into the supply chain. Consumer Brands applauds the administration and the Department of Transportation for acknowledging the need for data sharing and the innovative potential it creates. 

“Establishing a national freight data portal is a big idea and we are pleased to see the administration advance toward making it a reality. The consumer packaged goods industry is eager to continue its work with the administration to help realize FLOW’s objectives and, ultimately, preserve the availability, affordability and accessibility of essential products.”

Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA)

“There are currently limited pathways for digitalised data to travel freely across the end-to-end-supply chain. As a result, ‘blind spots’ exist along the shipment journey, making supply chains less predictable, and hence, less reliable. Having an interoperable digital infrastructure will help eliminate blind spots by increasing the availability and reliability of data. DCSA and its members are committed to contributing to the Department of Transportation initiative to create a standards-based, interoperable digital infrastructure.”

-    Thomas Bagge, CEO, DCSA

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