On Monday, the UK government launched a £7M tech fund aiming to decarbonize the freight industry and improve 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,” “resilient,” and “greener.”
“Each year in the UK, we transport 1.6 billion tonnes of freight using many different modes of transport, and it has never been quicker or easier,” Nicola Yates OBE, CEO at Connected Places Catapult — the government’s innovation accelerator — said in the associated press release. “The freight sector makes a huge contribution to our economy and contributes significantly to domestic carbon emissions,” she added.
The fund will support the development of ideas and respective technology which will mainly address three persistent issues in the freight sector:
- The lack of large-scale, cross-industry data collection and sharing between different modes of freight transport (such as road, rail, and maritime) that could boost efficiency and coordination.
- Issues in intermodal transport and ways to improve the division of large shipments into smaller ones, which could reduce emissions and traffic.
- Upgrades in freight distribution in ports across different transport modes that could have a positive ripple effect on the predictability, scheduling, and efficiency of journeys.
The FIF will be delivered to SMEs by Delivered by Connected Places Catapult, allowing them access to technical and business support from the organization.
The selected SMEs will also benefit from a freight innovation fund accelerator, which will provide support to innovators and help them access private investment, as well as from a freight innovation cluster — a community of innovators within the sector that organizes networking events and activities.
“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, Roads Minister Richard Holden noted. “This fund will accelerate new ideas and technologies, helping to develop a future pipeline of innovations that can be rolled out to create jobs and allow everyone to get their goods faster and easier.”