Now that The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) is in effect, making substantial investments in US ports, highways, and other critical parts of physical infrastructure, improving the US supply chain by moving goods safely and more efficiently, it is time to strengthen our goods movement supply chains by making a similarly bold improvement in a digital infrastructure to connect the supply chain.
To take the first step toward addressing this challenge, the Biden Administration launched the Freight Logistics Optimization Works (FLOW), an information sharing initiative to pilot key freight information exchange between parts of the goods movement supply chain.
FLOW includes eighteen initial participants representing a diverse perspective across the supply chain, such as private businesses, warehousing, and logistics companies, ports, and more. These 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. DOT will lead this effort, playing the role of a broker and convener to bring supply chain stakeholders together to problem solve and overcome coordination challenges. This initial phase aims to produce a proof-of-concept freight information exchange.
The FLOW initiative builds on the Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force to ensure cargo is getting from ship to shelf, including:
- Reduced Dwell Time in Los Angeles and Long Beach. At the beginning of November, with support from the Administration, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach proposed charging the ocean carriers for cargo that dwelled on the docks for nine days or more, which led to about a 60 percent reduction in the number of long-dwelling import containers on the docks to date.
- Alleviated congestion at the Port of Savannah by funding the Georgia Port Authority pop-up container yards project. With this policy change, the Georgia Port Authority was able to reallocate more than $8 million to convert existing inland facilities into five pop-up container yards in both Georgia and North Carolina. Since the temporary container yards opened in late November, the container yards have provided relief to about 5,000 containers over eight weeks and freed up more dock space, speeding goods flow in and out of the Port of Savannah.
- Secured commitments to move towards 24/7 operations via a Presidential call to action to encourage every link in the goods movement chain to move towards a 24/7 pace to increase the volume and pace of products flowing through the system. The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) workers joined together to make the first commitment. Some of the countries’ largest companies joined in as well, including Walmart, Target, FedEx, UPS, Home Depot, Best Buy, The Gap, and Samsung, committing to try a new solution.
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