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Digital Catapult working to cut road emissions by reducing empty trucks


A new Logistics Living Lab project aims to cut the carbon emissions caused by empty and near-empty delivery trucks on the UK’s roads.

Launched by the UK government’s innovation agency for the digital and software industry, Digital Catapult, the project will see the development of a shared digital infrastructure for more intelligent management of vehicle slot filling, routing, and tracking. It aims to enable competing logistics providers to safely share information available truck space across their collective fleets, without the need for a single party needing full control or visibility of the whole system.

The infrastructure, underpinned by Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), will work to deliver greater coordination across the logistics sector without compromises to commercial sensitivity and security of data, while enabling greater operational efficiency.

“There is growing demand from businesses to make supply chains more sustainable and this logistics project can play a key role in demonstrating the benefits of working together to achieve this,” explained Tim Lawrence, director of the Digital Supply Chain Hub.

The project comes as road freight transportation and removal services produced 11.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2020, threatening the progress in the UK to reach net zero by 2050.

Freight accounts for 31% of all UK transport CO2 emissions, and these emissions are the main driver of climate related risks including climate change and extreme weather. This is where the Logistics Living Lab will make a difference, by leveraging emerging technologies including DLT and the internet of things (IoT) to reduce the number of empty trucks releasing pollutants into the atmosphere on roads across the country.

The project, which will run until September 2024, brings together five leading digital innovators including Vodafone Digital Asset Broker, Microsoft, Yusen Logistics, Fuuse, and Parity Technologies.

The Logistics Living Lab project is part of Digital Catapult’s Made Smarter Innovation Digital Supply Chain Hub which aims to make supply chains more efficient, resilient and sustainable by developing and promoting the adoption of advanced digital technologies in supply chains across the UK. It comes as a more practical approach to solving UK manufacturing and logistics challenges is needed, including the reduction of road congestion, improvement of customer experience, and bringing the UK closer to its net zero ambitions.

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