The Biden administration announced on March 15th a major initiative in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Transportation to revamp the supply chain at the digital foundation layer.
The program being pushed is called FLOW. Freight Logistics Optimization Works. You can read the White House Press Sheet by clicking here.
FLOW aims to streamline certain processes for the industry. Something we’ve all heard many times but rarely see come to fruition. However, there is something new in the industry that is sure to speed up the migration to the unsolicited “New World Order” infecting how everyone around the world has to do business and communicate.
No, it’s not electric vehicles. The entire concept can be distilled into one word. That word is centralization (of data that is).
Data Centralization has HUGE upside, so long as the earliest adopters and owners of the protocol don’t use it as a Trojan horse to invade driver and company privacy. Something we are sure to see a lot of resistance about for the foreseeable future.
With good reason to. The new age of technology is going to make influencing people and company’s behaviors easier than ever. Except instead of it only being possible to influence people’s content consumption, this technology will enable the stakeholders to control the way the sum of freight moves from day to day.
Centralization of data would mean that a whole organization, or in this case, the whole industry, would have access to a data pool that is sourced from the rest of the industry’s activities.
FLOW will definitely be a hot talking point in the near future. The political benefits of this kind of talking platform rarely go to waste. It’s like a salad bar of potential talking points that anyone in a position to speak to the public will lurk around.
But it’s important that we don’t stray too far from the core of the matter. Stated simply, technology is about to become more embedded than ever. With outcomes that hopefully result in more profitability, safer roads, and a better handle on supply chain dynamics.
On the upside, the benefits will be skewed towards smaller companies. With the level of oversight that comes along with the implementation of this kind of technology, companies will be able to better sequence loads as well as loading/unloading schedules.
But let’s take a step outside of the muddy waters of politics and technical infrastructure and get down to the brass tax. FLOW will initially be rolled out with 18 participants that come from various sectors rooted in the logistics industry.
Early Data Sharing Partners
- Port of Long Beach (Owned by Australian based Investment firm MIP)
- Port of Los Angeles (40% Chinese Owned)
- Georgia Ports Authority
- CMA CGM (French Owned)
- MSC (Swiss Owned)
- Fenix Marine Terminal (French Owned)
- Global Container Terminals (Owned by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, The Australian investment firm IFM, and British Columbia Investment Management).
- Albertsons (US Based)
- Gemini Shippers (US Based)
- Land O’ Lakes (US Based)
- Target (US Based)
- True Value (US Based)
- DCLI (US Based)
- FlexiVan (US Based)
Logistics and Warehousing:
- FedEx (US Based)
- Prologis (US Based)
- UPS (US Based)
- CH Robinson (US Based)
As usual, the government has chosen foreign companies for the base of the data centralization play. Which will certainly create competitive disadvantages for American companies in the future.
So where does this take us? Simply put, at some unknown date in the future, a data API will become available for all companies to plug into. Some will provide data, and pull data. Some will just pull data. And some will just provide data to the central database.
Regulations and incentives will also be introduced to influence the management and implementation of new logistics processes. As expected, we’re going to be seeing a lot more news about the alignment of our supply chain systems with the demands of the New World Order. All while Free Americans try to catch up with the tech adoption curve in our beloved Free Market.
Industry Leaders’ Comments
“Peter Drucker famously said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. For many small and medium American exporters and importers, the dearth of clear, real time, and accurate supply chain data hinders their ability to cope with and manage the supply chain shocks being experienced in North America today. A robust and holistic supply chain data infrastructure would help all companies, and especially small and medium enterprises, optimize and manage their supply chain operations.”
– Kenneth O’Brien, President / CEO of Gemini Shippers Association/ Fashion Accessories Shippers Association
“Greater transparency — knowing where a vessel or a container is at every stage of transit — would provide the predictability cargo owners and logistics providers need to optimize the use of resources,”
– Griff Lynch, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority.
“CMA CGM is honored to support the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to improve supply chain fluidity and velocity in the United States. Innovation is part of the CMA CGM Group’s DNA, and we continue to embark on transformational projects designed to enhance our customers’ experience and improve operational efficiency. A project like FLOW is a perfect complement to our current activities. Being able to more easily exchange data and collaborate with all of our supply chain stakeholders will be a real game changer for our customers and the industry as a whole.”
– Ed Aldridge, President of CMA CGM and APL North America