The White House this week launched the Freight Logistics Optimization Works (FLOW), an information sharing initiative between ports, ocean carriers, terminal operators, corporations, chassis providers, and logistics and warehousing companies. The initiative is designed to provide a digital infrastructure to facilitate information flow throughout the transportation supply chain.

“The goods movement chain is almost entirely privately operated and spans shipping lines, ports, terminal operators, truckers, railroads, warehouses, and cargo owners such as retailers,” a White House fact sheet said. “These different actors have made great strides in digitizing their own internal operations, but they do not always exchange information with each other. This lack of information exchange can cause delays as cargo moves from one part of the supply chain to another, driving up costs, and increasing goods movement fragility.”

Initial participants in the program include the Port of Long Beach, Port of Los Angeles, Georgia Ports Authority; ocean carriers CMA CGM and MSC; terminal operators Fenix Marine Terminal and Global Container Terminals; corporations including Albertsons, Gemini Shippers, Land O’ Lakes, Target, True Value; chassis providers DCLI and FlexiVan; and logistics and warehousing companies FedEx, Prologis, UPS, and CH Robinson.

“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 White House fact sheet continued. “The principles of the pilot include the following: it is a voluntary, secure national exchange for freight information, it is available to participants who share data, and it is sustained by supply chain operational improvement.”

A readout of the White House launch event can be found here.