Government launches Freight Innovation Fund in new strategy for the sector
The Department for Transport has published a new strategy for how government and industry will work closely together to deliver a world-class, seamless flow of freight across the UK’s roads, railways, seas, skies and canals.
The Future of Freight strategy, published this week, sets out how it intends to support a freight and logistics sector that is cost-efficient, reliable, resilient, environmentally sustainable and valued by society.
The role for technology
The strategy states that there is “limited awareness in the sector of innovative solutions coming to market, and of the sector’s needs amongst innovators”. In addition, the government admits that there is an incomplete understanding of viable technologies’ ability to meet real-world freight problems.
To address this, an innovation sub-group of the newly formed Freight Council will be established to build awareness of the sector to innovators and innovative solutions available to the sector. In addition, a new dedicated £7m cross-modal Freight Innovation Fund will be launched to develop the future pipeline of solutions to meet the sector’s real-world needs.
We welcome the recognition that technology plays a vital role. However, impressive work is already underway to deliver products including such as electrified HGVs, connected and automated mobility, telematics and predictive technologies. We now hope to see government playing its part to incentivise operators to adopt these technologies and evangelise their benefits.
The journey to 2050
The government acknowledges that there are significant challenges ahead to reach net zero. To combat this a Freight Energy Forum will be formed to build confidence in the market by supporting and promoting mode shift. A regulatory review of barriers to delivery of zero-carbon energy infrastructure will also be undertaken, with effort made to demonstrate what a zero-carbon cross-modal freight journey looks like.
However, the decarbonisation of freight will also rest in the hand of the retailers and suppliers. This complex network requires a holistic approach in considering the drivers for multiple players, including the end consumer, and we hope to see the decarbonisation of freight considered within the much wider context of global supply chain operations.
Recruitment drive to tackle the skills shortage
Also announced within the plan is the Generation Logistics campaign, coordinated by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) and Logistics UK, in partnership with the Department for Transport, which aims to address the industry’s long-term recruitment and staff retention issues. This will include a £345,000 investment in online resources, learning materials and job adverts to make it easier for people to start their career in the industry, as well as TV and radio adverts to attract candidates.
We look forward to working with industry and government in the implementation of this important strategy through our Intelligent Transport and Mobility working group. If you would like to know more about our work in this space then please reach out to Ashley Feldman, Programme Manager for Transport at Ashley.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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