FLOW: Strengthening the supply chain through data exchange

By | 2023-05-18T00:02:00+00:00 May 18th, 2023|Supply Chain|

The Department of Transportation’s Freight Logistics Optimization Works (FLOW), has developed a data exchange to pool information on the movement of goods, including container volumes and available logistics equipment.

According to a press release, 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 the supply chain and bring down costs for Americans in the long term.

FLOW, which was launched in March 2022, is a partnership between the US government and dozens of supply chain companies with the aim of developing new shared data infrastructure to give companies information to proactively address supply chain challenges (such as the structural weaknesses that were exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic) through an integrated view of container volumes and equipment in the US, which will hopefully help speed up the movement of goods and reduce costs.

The Department of Transportation 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 has grown to 53 member companies since launching with just 18 founding members. To learn more about FLOW, including how to join, visit bts.gov/flow.

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