News, Technology

UK Government Launches £7 Million Fund to Decarbonize Freight Transport

Abhinav Raj

Abhinav Raj, Writer
@uxconnections

The UK government is putting sustainability at the front with its £7 million freight innovation fund (FIF).

At the heart of the increasingly interconnected global economy are the advancements in transportation, which have fueled the unprecedented extent of globalization. 

The emergence of new technologies, trade liberalization and interdependence on foreign industrial centres are just some of the many factors which are accelerating global commerce—and this trend is likely to continue in the foreseeable future. 

The supply chains of the world rely extensively on maritime transport, with a staggering 90% of the world trade being carried over the ocean. This presents significant challenges in the path to achieving sustainability, as maritime shipping currently represents 2.9% of the world’s carbon emissions. 

The demand for global freight is rising steadily. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates that by 2050, maritime trade is expected to surge to three times its current level. 

The greenhouse emissions produced by the maritime sector are expected to have significant detrimental impacts on the environment if left unregulated by institutions. 

Taking cognizance of the environmental impact of maritime transportation, the UK government on Monday announced a £7 million freight innovation fund (FIF) to decarbonize freight transportation through technological innovation. 

The FIF will be awarded to 36 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to overhaul the supply chain of freight and the movement of goods between road, rail and maritime routes to make transportation “more efficient, resilient and greener”. 

The fund comes as part of the government’s ‘future of freight plan’ which aims to address the five key priorities identified in the plan for the freight sector, including cost-efficiency, reliability, resilience, environmental sustainability and being valued by society.

Image: Venti Views on Unsplash

The FIF supports various artificial intelligence and simulation technologies that help the freight industry in numerous ways, including improving fuel efficiency for heavy goods vehicles, monitoring the performance of rail freight wagons, and predicting the best locations for logistics infrastructure. 

These technologies, developed by companies such as Hypermile, Fishbone Solutions, and CGA Simulation, have the potential to significantly improve the efficiency and sustainability of the freight industry.

“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”, commented Roads Minister Richard Holden. 

“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 UK government’s £7 million freight innovation fund (FIF) is a welcome and important step towards decarbonizing the freight sector and addressing the environmental impacts of maritime transportation. 

By supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to develop innovative technologies and solutions, the FIF has the potential to significantly improve the efficiency and sustainability of freight transport, and chart a course towards a greener tomorrow for the freight industry.

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