As part of the inaugural meeting of the White House Council on Supply Chain Resilience, President Biden and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg on Nov. 27 announced the launch of the Office of Modal Freight Infrastructure and Police (Multimodal Freight Office) to “oversee the maintenance and improvement of the nation’s freight network and supply chains.”
In partnership with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the new office will “continue the advancement of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Freight Logistics Optimization Works (FLOW) program that is helping American businesses get goods to shelves faster and cut costs for consumers, a central part of ‘Bidenomics.’”
According to DOT, the Multimodal Freight Office is part of the Department’s implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law as directed by Congress and will be led by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multimodal Freight Infrastructure and Policy Allison Dane Camden. In addition to growing the FLOW partnership, the office, DOT says, will oversee the development of the National Multimodal Freight Network, review State Freight Plans, and provide technical assistance to state and local governments, among other duties.
FLOW now includes the five largest U.S. container ports, seven of the largest ocean carriers, and four of the five largest retailers by imports to create a shared picture of supply chain networks and facilitate a more reliable flow of goods. Data from this “unprecedented public-private partnership” is beginning to inform decision-making and planning across the supply chain that will speed up the movement of goods and cut costs for consumers, DOT says.
FLOW, DOT says, “provides greater transparency across supply chain networks, helping make our supply chain more resilient and adaptable in the face of major anomalies and changing circumstances.” Through FLOW, DOT is serving as an independent steward of secure supply chain data across a largely privately-operated enterprise that spans shipping lines, ports, terminal operators, truckers, railroads, warehouses, and beneficial cargo owners.
“By providing a secure, shared view of the national logistics system without compromising sensitive proprietary information, including both supply and demand assets, participants can make more informed decisions regarding their capacity and supply chain planning. This is coupled with a record investment in our ports and waterways—nearly $17 billion—from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” according to DOT.
“Since President Biden took office we have focused on supply chain improvements, not just to recover from pandemic-driven disruptions but also to make lasting improvements for a stronger and more resilient future,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. “Our new Multimodal Freight Office will lead coordination of our work to strengthen supply chains—including the FLOW data initiative helping companies and ports make better-informed decisions—so that they can move goods more efficiently and keep costs down for Americans.”