The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is seeking feedback from the trucking industry regarding points of weakness in the U.S. supply chain.
DOT is currently at work preparing a report for the White House on the state of the nation’s freight and logistics sector and has put out a request for public information from trucking industry stakeholders.
Since the COVID-19 crisis began, supply chain disruptions have been an area of concern, with intermittent shortages of grocery items, paper supplies, and fuel reported in areas across the U.S. In response, the Biden Administration issued an Executive Order in February 2021 which directed several federal agency actions to secure and strengthen America’s supply chains. In June 2021, Biden also established a Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force to assess and alleviate bottlenecks and supply constraints.
As part of the Executive Order, the Secretary of Transportation must submit a report on supply chain issues to the White House. To help complete the report, DOT is seeking “practical solutions from a broad range of stakeholders to address current and future challenges to supply chain resilience in the freight and logistics sector.”
The DOT has specifically called for members of the transportation industry to answer the following 13 questions:
1. The identification of major infrastructure or operational bottlenecks and chokepoints across all aspects of the freight and logistics supply chain—including shipping/receiving, intermodal transfer, rail/water/truck transportation, warehousing, etc.—that slow or impede efficient cargo movement within the freight and logistics sector, and the most effective investments and management practice improvements that could be made to alleviate those bottlenecks.
2. Current and potential future shortages and/or distribution limitations of essential cargo-handling equipment, such as chassis and shipping containers, and how these challenges can be or are likely to be addressed by the freight and logistics industry over both the medium and longer term.
3. Warehouse capacity and availability, and any challenges faced in operating and siting/constructing those facilities, as well as challenges faced by third-party logistics service providers and other stakeholders in the logistic system.
4. Major risks to resilience within the freight and logistics sector (including defense, intelligence, cyber, homeland security, health, climate, environmental, natural, market, economic, geopolitical, human-rights, or labor-management risks). What factors help to mitigate, or conversely exacerbate, these risks?
5. The effects of climate change on transportation and logistics infrastructure and its implications for supply chain resiliency.
6. Technology issues, including information systems, cybersecurity risks, and interoperability, that affect the safe, efficient, and reliable movement of goods. Would greater standardization of those technologies help address those challenges?
7. Key opportunities and challenges with respect to the existing and future workforce to ensure a well-functioning freight and logistics supply chain and achieve the President’s goal of increasing good-paying jobs with the choice of a union. Are there additional workforce or skill set opportunities and needs currently, or expected in the future?
8. Current barriers (including statutory, regulatory, technological, institutional, labor and workforce, management, existing business models/practices issues) that inhibit supply chain performance. For any barriers identified, please address the actors involved and potential outcomes should those barriers be removed.
9. Critical assets that the sector relies upon and their expected future availability. Would increasing domestic production of these assets be desirable or feasible as a means of ensuring greater supply chain resiliency (chassis, containers, etc.)?
10. Technological practices, including data sharing, that are being implemented at various levels across the supply chain sector. What are the upsides, challenges, and drawbacks of further adoption?
11. Actions that DOT or other agencies in the U.S. Government (USG) could take under existing authorities or in partnership with States, local governments, the private sector, or labor to address current and evolving challenges within the freight and logistics sector.
12. Other policy recommendations or suggested executive, legislative, or regulatory changes to ensure a resilient supply chain that DOT/USG should consider, including means to collaborate more effectively across government agencies and suggestions based on state and international models.
13. Recommended actions by non-Federal entities, including State and local governments, private firms, labor, and other participants in the freight and logistics sector that could be encouraged by DOT/USG.
DOT is accepting public comment through October 18, 2021.
If you’d like to leave an online comment, click here.