The Missouri Department of Transportation has launched the Missouri Freight Plan, the next step in a process started last year to develop the state's long-range transportation plan.

Statewide freight forums, designed to obtain significant input into the plan from freight stakeholders, will be held Jan. 29 through Feb. 7.

In developing the plan, the state DOT says it will work with freight partners to better understand the cost to the Missouri economy if the state's freight network stagnates or deteriorates

"It will describe Missouri's existing freight transportation system and provide Missouri DOT with the ability to articulate what freight projects would be most helpful to the state should additional funds be made available in the future," the state DOT says.

The plan follows up on information gained in 2013 during the first phase of developing a long-range transportation plan.

"The effort to develop the plan will involve a series of stakeholder interviews, freight forums and business forums, each aimed at reaching key audiences involved in Missouri's freight system," the state DOT says. "Freight and industry stakeholders, such as logistics directors, shipping managers and economic development professionals are invited to the freight forums to discuss issues, needs, concerns and opportunities in the state."

The Missouri DOT anticipates the draft freight plan to be prepared for review by June 2014, with a final report in September 2014.