On Monday, the UK government launched a £7m tech fund aimed at decarbonising the freight industry and improving transport links.
Over the course of three years, the Freight Innovation Fund (FIF) will go to up to 36 SMEs to develop innovative technologies that can make industrial transport “more efficient”, “more resilient” and “greener”.
“Every year in the UK we move 1.6 billion tonnes of freight using many different modes of transport and it’s never been faster or easier,” Nicola Yates OBE, CEO of Connected Places Catapult – the government’s innovation accelerator – said in the related press release. “The freight sector makes a huge contribution to our economy and is a significant contributor to domestic carbon emissions,” she added.
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The fund will support the development of ideas and related technologies that primarily address three persistent problems in the freight sector:
- The lack of large-scale, cross-industry data collection and exchanges between different modes of freight transport (such as road, rail and sea) that could increase efficiency and coordination.
- Issues in intermodal transport and ways to better split large shipments into smaller shipments that could reduce emissions and traffic.
- Improvements in cargo distribution in ports across different modes of transport, which could have a positive impact on the predictability, timing and efficiency of trips.
The FIF is provided to SMBs by Delivered by Connected Places Catapult, giving them access to the organization’s technical and business support.
The selected SMEs will also benefit from a Freight Innovation Fund Accelerator, which will support innovators and facilitate their access to private investment, and a Freight Innovation Cluster – a community of innovators within the sector that organizes networking events and activities.
“Our freight industry is vital to prop up the economy and keep Britain moving. So it’s crucial that we invest in new innovations to make it greener and faster,” said Roads Secretary Richard Holden. “This fund will accelerate new ideas and technology and help develop a future pipeline of innovations that can be introduced to create jobs and allow everyone to get their goods faster and easier.”