US Launches Digital Information Sharing Platform to Improve Supply Chain Flow

FLOW already has the support of MSC, CMA CGM, as well as logistics companies and cargo beneficiaries

In order to strengthen supply chains, the US Government, led by Joe Biden, announced an improvement in digital infrastructure. This is the launch of Freight Logistics Optimization Works (FLOW), an initiative to exchange information on the transport of goods between the components of the supply chain.

FLOW includes eighteen initial participants representing diverse perspectives throughout the supply chain, including private companies, warehouses and logistics companies, ports, among others. These stakeholders key partners will work with the Administration to develop a trial information exchange to ease supply chain congestion, speed the movement of goods, and ultimately reduce costs for American consumers.

The Department of Transportation will lead this effort, playing the role of intermediary and calling the stakeholders in order to solve problems and overcome coordination challenges. The objective of this initial phase is to produce a proof of concept for the exchange of information on the transport of goods by the end of the northern summer

A new association

From the White House they point out that the recent interruptions in the supply chain have increased awareness in the US about the need to improve the exchange of information. In that sense, FLOW will test the idea that cooperation on the fundamental digital infrastructure of goods transport is in the interests of both public and private parties. Therefore, it is designed to support companies throughout the supply chain and improve end-to-end information accuracy for a more resilient supply chain.

According to the Joe Biden administration's diagnosis, the lack of digital infrastructure and transparency makes US supply chains fragile and unable to adapt when faced with a Shock. And while he acknowledges that different private players have made great progress in digitizing their own internal operations, he points out that they do not always exchange information with each other. "This lack of information exchange can cause delays when cargo moves from one part of the supply chain to another, which increases the costs and fragility of the movement of goods," they state from the White House.

With FLOW, the Biden Administration will play a leadership role in bringing businesses together to solve problems for the American people. The initial partners of this initiative are:

Port Authorities of Long Beach Los Angeles and Georgia, shipping lines CMA CGM and MSC; the terminal operators: Fenix ​​Marine Terminal, Container Global Terminals, the companies Albertsons, Gemini Shippers, Land O' Lakes, Target, True Value; Chassis providers: DCLI, FlexiVan; FedEx Logistics and warehousing companies; Prologis; UPS and CH Robinson

These early partners have committed to working with the Biden-Harris Administration to identify and operationalize an early information exchange that supports a more resilient and seamless supply chain.

FLOW will be able to address issues such as ensuring anticipated return dates are consistent across partners, more accurately measuring chassis availability, and understanding aggregate dwell time throughout the supply chain. The principles of the pilot project are as follows: it is a secure, voluntary national exchange of freight transport information, is available to data-sharing participants, and is underpinned by operational improvement of the supply chain.

Also, for others stakeholders, the Biden-Harris Administration is launching a webpage to gauge interest and support for the foundational freight infrastructure, and while this is a limited pilot project, the Department of Transportation wants to hear from other stakeholders looking to participate in FLOW through as the initiative grows.

The White House noted that the FLOW initiative builds on previous successes of the Biden-Harris Task Force on Supply Chain Disruptions to ensure cargo gets from ship to shelf, including:

Reduced wait times in Los Angeles and Long Beach; Congestion relief at the Port of Savannah by funding the Georgia Port Authority's pop-up container yard project; commitments to move toward 24/7 operations to increase the volume and pace of products moving through the system in an initiative involving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and workers from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union ( ILWU).; also joining some of the largest US companies, including Walmart, Target, FedEx, UPS, Home Depot, Best Buy, The Gap and Samsung, which committed to testing a new solution.

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