Freight Logistics Optimization Works (FLOW), an initiative launched in March 2022 by the Biden Administration and supply chain companies to develop new shared data infrastructure, announced on May 1 that it has developed a data exchange “to pool information on goods movement, including incoming container volumes and available logistics equipment.”
The public-private group said that such data sharing across the supply chain industry and alongside the federal government has “never been done before and has vast potential for increased collaboration that will help improve our supply chain and bring down costs for Americans in the long term.”
“We are proud to launch FLOW, the first-ever nationwide multimodal freight data exchange, to increase the speed and reduce the costs of shipping goods, in partnership with dozens of supply chain companies,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “This has never existed before. But now that it is, we will see benefits nationwide as goods move more quickly and efficiently through our supply chains.”
Per FLOW leadership, the supply and demand imbalances of the past two years and the resulting “bullwhip effect,” made it challenging to maintain a fluid supply chain and keep costs down. To better manage these challenges, DOT is establishing a baseline data infrastructure available to industry partners.
Through FLOW, DOT is serving as an “independent data steward for participants to exchange supply and demand information to be aggregated, anonymized, and returned for a holistic view of freight movement.”
Depending on the participant, data exchange may involve total incoming container demand or available supply-side assets, as measured by the availability of different assets to move goods including terminal slots, tractors, chassis, and warehouse space. Current FLOW participants have access to this shared aggregate view, which will continue to be developed further with participants in the coming months.
FLOW started with 18 founding members and currently has 53 member companies. To learn more about FLOW, including how to join, go to: bts.gov/flow.