How New DOT Multimodal Freight Office Will Affect Trucking

How New DOT Multimodal Freight Office Will Affect Trucking

President Biden unveiled more than 30 new actions to strengthen America’s supply chains with hopes to prevent another pandemic-crisis from happening again or to respond quickly if one happens again.

Everyone wants a smooth supply chain, from the logistics and transportation companies to the consumer.

During the COVID pandemic, we came face to face with real supply chain issues, as we all remember hoarding toilet paper or being prevented from buying too much baby formula.

This was due to manufacturing slow-downs, ships gridlocked at ports, undriven trucks parked at depots, and some warehouses overflowing with product or others nearly empty.

According to a White House press release, Biden’s new actions will help Americans:

  • get the products they need when they need them
  • enable reliable deliveries for businesses
  • strengthen our agriculture and food systems, and
  • support good-paying, union jobs

The belief is that when supply chains run smoothly, prices fall for goods, food, and equipment, putting more money in the pockets of American families, workers, farmers, and entrepreneurs.

Let’s look at several ways this will affect trucking: The creation of the Council on Supply Chain Resilience; launch of the quadrennial supply chain review; DOT’s FLOW program; and the launch of DOT Multimodal Freight Office.

Creation of the Council on Supply Chain Resilience

The Council on Supply Chain Resilience, which President Biden is established just after Thanksgiving, will bring together more than a dozen of the nation’s top federal officials directly involved in industrial policy.

Leading the council will be Allison Dane Camden, a former Washington State Department of Transportation official, as the deputy assistant secretary for multimodal freight infrastructure and policy.

The office will:

  • Develop a National Multimodal Freight Network
  • Review state freight plans, and
  • Advance the Freight Logistics Optimization Works program with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics

This Council will “support the enduring resilience of America’s critical supply chains” by building supply chain capacity to make sure a supply collapse doesn’t happen again, and if it does, we can respond quickly and systematically.

Hiring for the new office is underway, though staffing numbers have not yet been finalized, according to a DOT spokesperson.

Launch of the “quadrennial” supply chain review

The Council is expected to complete the first supply chain review, that will happen every four years, by December 31, 2024.

As part of the review, the Council will update criteria on industries, sectors, and products defined as critical to national and economic security.

Additionally, 12 months after the Council declares the criteria, and annually thereafter, the Council will apply the criteria to review and update the list of critical sectors, as appropriate.

This means that government officials will better understand freight issues from transport price gouging, the balance of “just-in-time” to “just-in-case” freight logistics, and investment needs for ports, warehousing, automation, and more.

As a Forbes article put it, “It is complicated enough when supply chains are confined to a single geographic market. It is even more complex when supply chains span different markets geographically dispersed. Still more complicated are supply chains that are not bilateral but tiered.”

New cross-governmental supply chain data-sharing capabilities

DOT is announcing a new milestone for FLOW, in which participants are beginning to utilize FLOW data to:

  • inform their logistics decision making,
  • helping to avoid bottlenecks,
  • shorten lead times for customers, and
  • enable a more resilient and globally competitive freight network through earlier warnings of supply chain disruption

DOT’s Freight Logistics Optimization Works (“FLOW”) program is a public-private partnership that brings together U.S. supply chain stakeholders to create a shared, common picture of supply chain networks and facilitate a more reliable flow of goods.

Over time, DOT will work with the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to increase data transparency for containerized shipments of agricultural products in the United States, efforts that can help producers and sellers avoid disruptions that can increase food prices.

These efforts, according to John Porcari, U.S. Department of Transportation adviser “puts goods movement on an equal footing with moving people in transportation. It’s literally the lifeblood of our economy. It’s not just a matter of national economic performance. It’s a matter of national security.”

Launch of DOT Multimodal Freight Office

As part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, DOT is launching the Office of Multimodal Freight Infrastructure and Policy.

Basically, they are responsible for maintaining and improving the condition and performance of the nation’s multimodal freight network including through the development of the National Multimodal Freight Network, review of State Freight Plans, and the continued advancement of the FLOW initiative in partnership with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Specifically, this office shall:

  • Administer and oversee certain multimodal freight grant programs
  • Promote and facilitate the sharing of information between the private and public sectors with respect to freight issues
  • Conduct research on improving multimodal freight mobility
  • Oversee the freight research activities of the various agencies within the Department
  • Assist cities and States in developing freight mobility and supply chain expertise, and
  • Liaise and coordinate with other Federal departments and agencies

Regarding the National Freight Strategic Plan, DOT will use it to guide national freight policy, programs, initiatives, and investments.

The plan’s goals are to:

  • Modernize or eliminate unnecessary or duplicative regulations, while protecting safety and environmental outcomes, that:
    • inhibit supply chain efficiency,
    • reduce incentives to innovation,
    • delay project delivery, or
    • raise costs to shippers and consumers
  • Improve cross-sector, multijurisdictional, and multimodal collaboration to enhance intermodal connectivity and first-and last-mile connections, streamline interstate policies and regulations, and support multi-state investment
  • Provide targeted Federal resources and financial assistance to support freight projects that provide significant benefits to the national economy
  • Invest in freight data, analytical tools, and research to enhance the abilities of State, regional and local agencies to evaluate and address freight issues

“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 Transportation Secretary 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.”

Questions about DOT Compliance, Licensing, Audits, Programs, etc.?

Our DOT Specialists are here to help!

Related news

Monthly Newsletter

February 21, 2024

Watch the most recent episode for a Quick Trucking News Update

What are you searching for?

Related Services

Is DOT Compliance your Top Priority?

Our DOT Compliance Programs ensure it is your top priority and keeps your business running.

Subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter

Receive the latest transportation and trucking industry information about FMCSA and DOT Audits, Regulations, etc.

Social Media

Related news

Monthly Newsletter

February 21, 2024

Watch the most recent episode for a Quick Trucking News Update