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Is Port Congestion Help on the Way?

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White House Supply Chain Data-Sharing Portal Plan

The Biden-Harris Administration has announced its intent to launch an information sharing initiative to help ease supply chain congestion called Freight Logistics Optimization Works (FLOW). The national portal will report on chassis availability, aggregate dwell time, and ensure early return dates are consistent across partners. As of now, FLOW has eighteen initial participants bringing in information from different parts of the supply chain. Port authorities, ocean carriers, terminal operators, private businesses, warehouses, and logistic companies are all included within the group. The U.S. Department of Transportation aims to produce a proof-of-concept freight information exchange by the end of the summer. 

Private Companies Mean Private Data

Much of the supply chain is run by private companies, making it hard for information to be shared even though steps in the chain are reliant on each other. FLOW will work to combat this issue, ultimately speeding up delivery times and reducing consumer costs. 

In a statement, Port Envoy to the Biden-Harris Administration Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force John D. Porcari said, “I encourage the private sector to continue moving toward consensus around data sharing needs.” 

Making Changes With Data Visibility 

FLOW falls in line with other data-transparency initiatives. The Port of Los Angeles partnered with the Wabtec Corporation to launch the Port Optimizer, which provides data from all 12 marine terminals and 70% of the imports at the San Pedro Bay ports complex. The Supply Chain Information Highway, which is being developed by the Port of Long Beach and backed by the Port of Oakland and The Northwest Seaport Alliance, aims to do something similar by acting as a data-sharing tool reporting on the status of cargo. 

The consensus is clear: data visibility is crucial for the success of the supply chains and industry leaders and government officials are ready to make this change happen.