Business, Freight News, Logistics

DOT Collects Industry Input for NMFN

[ June 19, 2024   //   ]

The U.S. Department of Transportation has called on breakbulk cargo owners, carriers and other stakeholders to identify critical freight routes that are critical to multimodal transportation across the U.S.
The DOT published a request to solicit written input from the public, through June 11, on what to be included in the project, which would create a National Multimodal Freight Network, or NMFN, to achieve U.S. multimodal freight policy goals.
The DOT will use the input to draft a proposed network map to be published for public comment in late spring 2024 and provide an opportunity for states to provide input to submit additions to the network. After the final, subsequent comment period, DOT will review and approve additional designations for the NMFN by states and designate the final NMFN by December.
The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation, or FAST, Act from 2015 directs the assistant secretary for multimodal freight to establish an NMFN that will:
• Assist states in strategically directing resources toward improved system performance for the efficient movement of freight on the NMFN.
• Inform freight transportation planning.
• Assist in priorizing federal investment.
• Assess and support federal investments to achieve the goals of the national multimodal freight policy and the national highway freight program goals.
The DOT said it reached out to multimodal freight system users, transportation providers, metropolitan planning organizations, local governments, ports, airports, railroads, freight forwarders, brokers, other supply chain logisticians, scholars and states.

Dozen Factors

The DOT has been directed to consider a dozen distinct factors in designating NMFN route miles and facilities:
• Origins and destinations of freight movement within, to, and from the U.S.
• Volume, value, tonnage and the strategic importance of freight.
• Access to border crossings, airports, seaports and pipelines.
• Economic Factors, including balance of trade.
• Access to the major areas for manufacturing, agriculture and natural resources.
• Access to energy exploration, development, installation and production areas.
• Intermodal links and intersections that promote connectivity.
• Freight choke points and other impediments contributing to significant measurable congestion, delay in freight movement, or inefficient modal connections.
• Impacts on all freight transportation modes and modes that share significant freight infrastructure.
• Facilities and transportation corridors identified by a multi-state coalition, a state, a state freight advisory committee, or an MPO, using national or local data, as having critical freight importance to the region.
• Major distribution centers, inland intermodal facilities, and first- and last-mile facilities.
• The significance of goods movement, including consideration of global and domestic supply chains.
In considering the above factors, DOT is also directed to use, to the extent practicable, measurable data.
The DOT sought feedback from stakeholders on the NMFN goals, asked stakeholders to prioritize the 12 factors listed, and sought comment on the potential thresholds, criteria, and data sources that correspond to one or more of the 12 factors, including why the thresholds, criteria and data sources should be considered for designating the final NMFN.

SC&RA Weighs In

Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association said its staff and members are responding to the DOT’s call by marshalling its ranks.

“This is a big part of our advocacy strategy,” said Chris Smith, SC&RA vice president of transportation, adding that the timing of the DOT effort is important.
“We are working with members in every state to make the OS/OW case to freight planners, using our resources, like the SC&RF report, Public Benefits and Economic Dependency on the Crane, Rigging and Specialized Transport Industry, our own UPT (Uniform Permit Transport) reporting, etc.,” he said.