White House Plans Data Exchange to Improve Supply Chain

The White House last week announced a freight data exchange to be coordinated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The administration sees the exchange as the next step toward strengthening supply chains.

The Freight Logistics Optimization Works (FLOW) includes 18 initial participants including shippers, trucking, warehousing, logistics companies and ports.

“These key stakeholders will work together with the administration to develop a proof-of-concept information exchange to ease supply chain congestion, speed up the movement of goods, and ultimately cut costs for American consumers,” the White House said.

The DOT will lead the effort and play “the role of an honest broker and convener to bring supply chain stakeholders together to problem solve and overcome coordination challenges.”

FLOW will test the idea that sharing basic digital freight data is in the interest of public and private parties and expects to have the proof-of-concept freight data exchange by the end of the summer.

“I think people might commonly assume more than is there in terms of the level of data visibility” among supply chain participants, said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “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 a truck driver doesn’t actually know when, in a seven-hour window, is the right time to hit the port gate or the warehouse, that has consequences in terms of shipping times, business costs, and very importantly, right now, in terms of battling inflation and prices people are paying.”

FLOW is expected to be able to ensure early return dates for containers are consistent across partners, more accurately measure chassis availability and aggregate dwell times throughout the supply chain, the White House said.

The administration emphasized that the project is voluntary, will be available to participants who share data, and will be “sustained by supply chain operational improvement.”

Source: American Shipper