A cargo ship is moored in the Port of Long Beach while cranes retrieve cargo containers from the ship

Port of Long Beach. Photo: Richard H Grant / Shutterstock.com

Supply Chain Stakeholders Begin Data Sharing with New National Freight Data Platform

Mike Schuler
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August 10, 2022

The U.S. Department of Transportation is getting ready to convene the first meeting of supply chain stakeholders participating in a new national freight data platform aimed at boosting transparency and efficiency in the supply chain.

The platform, called the Freight Logistics Optimization Works or FLOW for short, was launched in March by the Biden Administration as an initiative to help solve supply chain congestion, speed up cargo movement, and lower costs for American consumers by increasing transparency in each point in the supply chain. Right now the platform is only in its beta testing phase.

The initiative was launched in March with eighteen inaugural participants including public entities, like the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Georpia Ports Authority, and leading private businesses in trucking, warehousing, logistics, and ocean shipping, including CMA CGM. Since then membership has doubled to 36 and now includes additional ocean carriers such as MSC, Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd.

Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and new White House Port Envoy Gen. Stephen Lyons will host the upcoming meeting where FLOW partners will discuss results from the initial data sharing and how the platform can help meet remaining challenges.

“The start of data sharing between industry and USDOT is an important milestone for FLOW. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with industry to develop this tool to enable industry to make more informed decisions that will improve the movement of goods along our supply chain,” said Supply Chain Envoy Gen. Stephen Lyons.

The FLOW platform gives companies greater information on the condition of a node or region in the supply chain so that goods can be moved more quickly and cheaply, ultimately bringing down costs.

“The supply chain crisis we faced over the last few years has taught us that businesses need greater visibility to navigate these unprecedented times,” said Ryan Petersen, CEO of Flexport. “By bringing public and private sectors together, FLOW will reduce inefficiencies and enable businesses of all sizes to make better decisions amid the ongoing uncertainty. Flexport’s mission is to make global trade easy for everyone, and we are honored to partner with the Administration on innovative initiatives to strengthen America’s supply chain.”

The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission, the independent agency responsbile for ensuring competitive and reliable international ocean shipping, is also intereste in use to data to help solve supply chain issues arising during the pandemic. The agency launched its own maritime data sharing initiative back in December aimed at identifying data constraints that impede the flow of cargo and add to supply chain inefficiencies.

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