Understanding the U.S. Freight Office: An Interview with USDOT

Understanding the U.S. Freight Office: an interview with USDOT

Navigating the freight transportation industry can be complex and fragmented. The Office of Multimodal Freight Infrastructure and Policy Freight at the U.S. Department of Transportation hopes to change that by playing an integrative role in federal freight policy to shape a more resilient national economy.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Andrew Petrisin, supply chain advisor working to build the new organization – which is dubbed the “Freight Office” for short. Here are some of the key insights Andrew shared about how the Freight Office is developing.

Jason: What is the main thing people should know about the Freight Office?

Andrew: We currently have the Supply Chain Disruption Task Force to address freight and supply chain challenges, and USDOT is institutionalizing that freight expertise to guide government leaders on issues of national importance. Shippers and the freight transportation industry will, for the first time, have an office dedicated to multimodal national freight policy and challenges. We are answering the call from the industry for the federal government to prioritize and lead, with a holistic approach, on issues of national competitiveness in transportation supply chain and logistics.

Jason: What is the U.S. Freight Office responsible for?

Andrew: The Freight Office is part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that was passed in November of 2021. As part of the Office of Statutory Requirements, we are implementing the National Multimodal Freight Policy. This policy includes overseeing state freight planning and building the National Multimodal Freight Network, facilitating of data exchange between the public and private sectors, and researching multimodal freight topics.

Jason: So, what are the top priorities of the Freight Office?

Andrew: There are three priorities. The first is infrastructure development: how do we think about prioritizing freight infrastructure funding nationally in a cohesive manner. Through the National Multimodal Freight Network, we need to identify critical commercial corridors and critical facilities that move freight across this country and ensure those facilities are resilient and funded well into the future.

Andrew: The second and third priorities focus on data exchange and market analysis – how the DOT, in addition to its modal-centric data analysis, thinks about industry verticals, how industries are changing, and how that shapes freight activity – all to inform federal policy.

Jason: What are the goals of the Freight Office?

Andrew: The Freight Office was created to build a more resilient freight system and improve economic vitality of the nation. From a transportation and logistics angle, there are two ways to do this: increase system capacity and reduce operational variance. The infrastructure focus of the office will focus on increasing system capacity and the data exchange arm will be focused reducing operational variance. Success is implementing a thoughtful and thorough strategy for national multimodal freight investment and reduced systemwide variance.

Jason: How will the Freight Office affect shippers and the larger freight transportation industry?

Andrew: We often hear that shippers and logistics service providers do not have a clear point of contact for freight issues or that the various operating administrations can be siloed. The Freight Office will focus on resolving some of these challenges.

Jason: Thank you so much for all this information, Andrew. Can you tell us a bit more about your role in the U.S. Department of Transportation?

Andrew: I’m the Supply Chain Advisor here at U.S. DOT. I started in the administration about a year and a half ago with the White House Supply Chain Disruption Task Force. Now I’m at the Department of Transportation working to stand up the new Office of Multimodal Freight Infrastructure and Policy Freight Office as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

This interview has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.


National Multimodal Freight Policy | US Department of Transportation

49 USC 118: Office of Multimodal Freight Infrastructure and Policy (house.gov)

Biden sets priorities, creates task force for infrastructure rollout - FreightWaves

Congress approves $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill - FreightWaves

UPDATED FACT SHEET: Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act | The White House

Freight Logistics Optimization Works (FLOW) | Bureau of Transportation Statistics (bts.gov)
Jason Craig
Government Affairs Director
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