£7m tech fund to decarbonise freight

London, UK: The government has launched a fund to help small to medium-sized businesses develop greener freight.

The £7m fund is to be spent over three to develop ways to make it easier to move freight from one mode of transport to another.

The freight innovation fund will go to up to 36 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). They will then work with companies to develop transport innovations.

Roads minister Richard Holden said: “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.”

The fund will look to support ideas and technical developments addressing, in particular:

  • 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 fund is part of the government’s future of freight plan that sets a strategy for government and industry to work closely together.

Kate Jennings, policy director at Logistics UK, said: “This innovation fund will be a welcome route for our member organisations to develop and access the technologies needed for goods to be moved in an increasingly green and cost-efficient way.

“SMEs will benefit from a freight innovation fund accelerator, which will provide bespoke business support to innovators to help them access private investment, as well as a freight innovation cluster, a community of innovators within the freight industry that hosts regular networking events and activities.

Stephen Parker, director general, British International Freight Association welcomed the announcement and said: “Any initiative that may help make the movement of freight more efficient, resilient and greener, is also welcomed by BIFA’s members that manage the physical supply chains of so many companies trading to and from the UK; as well as the domestic market.”