The Department for Transport has announced that the Government is aiming to make freight in the UK cleaner and more efficient.
Up to 36 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will receive a share of the Freight Innovation Fund, before going on to work alongside industry-leading companies to develop efficient, resilient and greener freight innovations.
The funding aims to help the SMEs with the rollout of the new technology by allowing them the opportunity to test their ideas. This has the potential to unlock huge efficiencies as well as reductions in emissions, an example of this is through learning how improve links between rail, rad and maritime transport.
Richard Holden, Roads Minister, said:
“Our freight industry is vital to underpinning the economy and keeps Britain moving, so it is crucial we invest in new innovations to make it greener and quicker.
“This fund will accelerate new ideas and technologies, is helping to develop a future pipeline of innovations that can be rolled out to create jobs and allow everything to get their goods faster easier.”
There are three long-standing issues in the freight sector that the fund will look to address. These are:
- A lack of large-scale cross-industry data collection and sharing between different modes of freight transport, such as road, rail and maritime, that could improve efficiencies and coordination.
- Difficulties in inter-modal transport, such as between rail and road, and ways to improve how large consignments are broken up into smaller ones, which could reduce emissions and traffic.
- Improvements in freight distribution in ports across different transport modes that could create knock-on benefits with timings, efficiencies, and predictability of the rest of the journey.
The government announced the innovation fund in 2022, with it falling under their Future of Freight plan. This is the first ever cross-modal and cross-government plan for the UK freight transport sector. It sets out a strategy for government and industry to work together and deliver a world class, seamless freight flow across the roads, railways, seas, skies and canals off the United Kingdom.