The DOT FLOW Initiative: Understanding the Goals and Impact for Shippers
At the height of the COVID pandemic, with US ports snarled and shippers seeing freight rates rise and transit times spike, the White House intervened with an idea to give those responsible for running containerized supply chains some measure of supply and demand at ports and other critical nodes. That program, the Freight Logistics Optimization Works (FLOW), has since attracted 55 participants, up from 18 at launch, including the likes of Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Dollar General and other major shippers. The idea behind the program is simple: Participants give data about their purchase order and ocean booking activity in exchange for an aggregated view on supply-demand balance across areas such as port capacity and chassis availability. The goal is to allow participants to make better medium-term planning decisions based on current market dynamics, whether it involves the supply of logistics assets or a forecast of performance across shipment lifecycles. In this session, Andrew Petrisin, a supply chain advisor at the Department of Transportation leading the FLOW initiative, will discuss how the program works, what it’s intended to accomplish and where it goes from here.