White House Unveils Supply Chain Data-Sharing Initiative

The pilot program is intended to improve digital infrastructure and transparency.

March 16, 2022


ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The Biden Administration announced yesterday it is launching Freight Logistics Optimization Works (FLOW), an initiative to create key freight information sharing throughout the goods movement supply chain, according to a White House fact sheet.

The announcement follows calls from the Supply Chain Optimization and Resilience (SCORe) coalition, for data sharing across the supply chain. NACS helped found the coalition and is an executive committee member.

FLOW is intended to improve digital infrastructure and transparency in the supply chain, allowing everyone throughout the supply chain to plan with more complete information. A key factor in the recent and current supply chain disruptions is lack of clarity of future supply and demand. The SCORe coalition and the Biden Administration’s efforts are targeted to deal with that stumbling block.

FLOW includes 18 initial participants that represent different points of the supply chain, including private businesses, warehousing and logistics companies, ports and others. 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, according to the fact sheet. The Department of Transportation will lead this effort. This initial phase aims to produce a proof-of-concept freight information exchange by the end of the summer.

“Coordination of everyone throughout the supply chain needs to catch up with 21st century technology,” said Lyle Beckwith, NACS senior vice president, government relations. “This effort will do just that and help reduce the disruptions we have seen over the past couple of years.”

FLOW will be able to address issues such as ensuring early return dates are consistent across partners, measuring more accurate chassis availability and understanding aggregate dwell time throughout the supply chain. The initiative is a voluntary, secure national exchange for freight information and is available to participants who share data. The program is sustained by supply chain operational improvement, said the administration.

FLOW will start as a pilot project with goals to expand.

“While starting with a limited pilot, DOT wants to hear from others who are interested in engaging as part of FLOW as a participant as the initiative grows,” wrote the administration in the fact sheet.

Within one month of the FLOW rollout, DOT will launch a web page to gauge industry interest in participation and data sharing for a potential long-term FLOW effort.

Biden Administration officials trumpeted the SCORe coalition’s efforts. “I’m very pleased with the industry’s willingness to partner, share data, and develop new information that will help the goods movement chain operate more efficiently,” said John D. Porcari, port envoy to the Biden-Harris Administration Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force. “I encourage the private sector to continue moving toward consensus around data sharing needs. Industry can concurrently advance data standards work while working closely with the Department of Transportation and Federal Maritime Commission.”