Sec. Pete Buttigieg announces new digital tool for LA's ports

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced a new digital tool to help ports communicate with shipping companies.

It’s called FLOW: Freight Logistics Operation Works.

"One of the things we’ve been hearing again and again when we’re working these supply chain issues is the data side," Buttigieg told FOX 11’s Elex Michaelson in an exclusive interview.

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"There is a need for better data sharing. A lot of things you might assume are already shared or known actually aren’t. The exact location of containers isn’t always known to the owners of those containers. Sometimes truckers don’t know when a container will be ready for them to pick up," the Secretary said.

This digital tool connects the Ports of Los Angeles & Long Beach with companies like Target, FedEx, and UPS.

"It’ll be a digital tool to get the information flowing. Its voluntary, the more you put in, the more you get out. We hope that more businesses will decide to become a part of this initiative because we think it will make for a more efficient supply chain for everybody," he said.

"Most people watching this interview are not going to personally use this digital tool that shipping companies and ports are going to use to talk to each other. The way you’re going to notice a difference is that shipping times are going to be a little bit shorter and it is going to be one less factor pushing prices up on the shelf. Remember, whenever there is a bottleneck or something inefficient, that could mean higher prices," he said.

This announcement comes amidst fears that conflict in Ukraine and COVID in China could cause more supply chain challenges.

"This is why we need a more resilient transportation system, you never know what the next thing is going to be…"

He added, "In the long run, this is why we’re pushing made in America and buy in America to have more of our goods produced in the U.S. so we don’t have to major economic disruptions because a factory closed in China."

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