The Department of Transportation has been tasked with seeking private sector input to create standardized data exchange requirements for goods movement in the transportation supply chain, according to a White House announcement of administration plans to fund ports and waterways improvements aimed at improving supply chain resiliency.

One aspect of the White House’s broader approach to improving ports and waterways infrastructure – funded with new money from the bipartisan infrastructure improvement legislation approved by Congress – falls squarely in the technology realm with improvements to data sharing and digital infrastructure.

“Digital infrastructure also plays a key role in facilitating our supply chains,” the White House said. “The goods movement chain is almost entirely privately operated and spans shipping lines, terminal operators, railroads, truckers, warehouses, and beneficial cargo owners. These different actors have each made great strides in digitizing their own internal operations, but they do not always exchange data with each other.”

“This lack of data exchange causes delays and inefficiencies as cargo moves from one part of the supply chain to another, driving up costs and increasing fragility,” the White House said.

As a result, the Biden administration is calling for the creation of new data standards for goods movement and said DoT along with the Federal Maritime Commission will work on a request for information (RFI) on how to create the new data standards.

“Standardized data are an important first step to ensure interoperability among actors in the supply chain and greater transparency, resiliency, fluidity, competition, and efficiency across the supply chain,” the White House said.

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.