Article
Distribution and Logistics United States Supply Chain Transport and Logistics

Supply Chain News: DOT, Supply Chain Companies Collaborate to Speed Up Movement of Goods, Cut Costs for Consumers

On August 10, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and Port Envoy Gen. Stephen Lyons convened Freight Logistics Optimization Works (FLOW) partners.

DOT, Supply Chain Companies Collaborate to Speed Up Movement of Goods, Cut Costs for Consumers

August 10, 2022

Today, at the Department of Transportation, Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Port Envoy Gen. Stephen Lyons will host a convening of Freight Logistics Optimization Works (FLOW) partners to advance the development of the initiative and welcome new members. The convening marks an important milestone for FLOW – the number of participants has doubled, and existing partners having begun securely sharing data with USDOT for the first time. At the convening, members who operate across our supply chains will discuss the results of their recent innovative data sharing and how it can help meet the challenges that remain.  

FLOW, which was launched in March, is a first-of-its-kind effort by the Biden-Harris Administration and supply chain companies to develop a digital tool that gives companies 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 for families. There are now 36 participants that are a part of FLOW, which will grow over the coming months. USDOT also plans to hold listening sessions with small businesses, technology experts, and others. 

“The Biden-Harris Administration is proud to bring together companies from across the supply chain in this first-of-its-kind initiative to share information and help move goods more quickly and cheaply,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “To keep supply chains moving and prices down, we must invest not only in our physical infrastructure but also our digital infrastructure, and FLOW is an important part of that effort.” 

“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.  

Currently, the lack of transparency across supply chain networks makes our supply chain brittle and unable to adapt when faced with an anomaly. Through the FLOW pilot, USDOT is serving as an independent steward of supply chain data across a largely privately-operated enterprise that spans shipping lines, ports, terminal operators, truckers, railroads, warehouses, and beneficial cargo owners. By providing a shared view of the national logistics system, including both supply and demand assets, participants can better understand supply chain capacity nationally.  

The solution is better cooperation on foundational freight data exchange so supply chain stakeholders can make better informed decisions that will reduce shipping costs, and ultimately cut costs for consumers. Supply chain parties deserve reliable, predictable, and accurate information about goods movement. The recent supply chain disruptions have raised a national awareness of the need for an ability to optimize existing asset use through improved information exchange. FLOW will support American businesses throughout the supply chain and improve accuracy of information from end-to-end for a more resilient supply chain.  

The Biden-Harris Administration has focused on addressing supply chain congestion, speeding up the movement of goods and lowering costs for families. The Administration is also focusing on addressing the structural weaknesses in the goods movement chain that the pandemic exposed, the result of decades of underinvestment, outsourcing, and offshoring over long-term security, sustainability, and resilience. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is making a generational investment in our ports, highways, and other parts of our physical infrastructure to lower costs. 

Resources

Review the original U.S. Department of Transportation press release here, including a list of FLOW participants and statements of support for FLOW.