In the new year the UK government announced a brand new fund in order to help small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) put more effort into more sustainable solutions for freight.
The new funding will be put in place to invest in innovative tech across the freight industry with an aim to decarbonise freight and improve existing transport links.
The UK freight industry is on a plan to become more efficient and run a greener operation thanks to the £7 million fund promised by the UK government. The fund is being implemented to assist up to 36 small and medium sized businesses and has been dubbed the freight innovation fund (FIF).
These businesses will then work with leading companies to work towards making freight more efficient, resilient and greener, according to gov.uk. There will be focus on how to improve the way in which freight moves between different carrier methods such as rail, road and ocean transport.
The initiative will allow innovators to test their ideas, the fund will enable SMEs to roll out brand new technologies and more efficient ways of working. These new methods should aid a new way of working which will see more efficiency and reductions in emissions across the freight sector. SMEs will benefit from the fund, as it will provide tailored support and help innovators access private investment, as well as access to a community of innovators within the freight industry that hosts regular networking events and activities.
The fund will focus on innovative ideas and tech which address, 3 specific issues within the freight sector:
- A lack of industry data collection and accessibility of data between different modes of freight transport, such as road, rail and maritime, that could improve efficiency and boost coordination across the networks.
- Issues and difficulties between different transport modes, such as between rail and road, improvements in how large consignments are broken into smaller ones, which is hoped could reduce emissions and traffic.
- Improvements to freight distribution at ports across transport methods which could create further benefits in time efficiencies, and journey predictability and planning.
Richard Holden, the Roads Minister has said “ 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.”
The fund was initially announced last year in the government’s future of freight plan, which was the first of its kind. The plan focuses on 5 priorities for freight, which includes cost-efficiency, reliability, resilience, and sustainability. You can read about these priorities in more detail in our blog here.