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Freight Innovation Fund: 9 projects delivering the future

A number of SMEs will receive Government investment to develop new low and zero carbon technologies for deliveries and other forms of haulage. 

In total, £7m has been allocated by Downing Street for the UK Freight Innovation Fund to bring new cleaner alternatives to traditional freight options to the British market.

several cargo containers

Winning projects include Skyports Deliveries, which uses drones to deliver parcels and packages to residents of remote Scottish islands. Elsewhere, Electric Assisted Vehicles will use the cash to continue work towards new lightweight, electrically-assisted four-wheeled drive vehicles. 

It is hoped that the solutions this money will pay for can help alleviate the country’s congested roads and vehicle-related emissions. In turn, this could create high-skilled jobs and result in far better service provision for people living in difficult to reach areas of Britain.

In total, nine projects have had funding confirmed, each judged on the ability to address longstanding issues with the freight sector; lack of large-scale, cross-industry data collection and sharing across modes of transport, intermodal transport challenges, freight distribution within ports. Organisations that have now won funding and access to an accelerator programme providing support, advice and helping find private funding include: 

*CurbCargo – London-based operation using data to track the environmental impact of deliveries, signposting where vehicle movements can be saved by changing how products are ordered

*Lightricity Ltd – Harnessing energy from indoor and low-level light sources to power battery-free tracking devices 

*Otaski Energy Solutions Ltd and Syselek Ltd – Cost and energy-efficient smart charge and bi-directional converter, allowing EVs to chart from any power grid source and discharge energy back to grid or storage 

*CocoonFMS Ltd – Digital calculator providing automatic management of port costs and shipping expenses, providing accurate invoice information to users, reducing port delays

*Entropy – System that utilises digital twins of shipments to track during delivery, supporting greater use of digital products in freight industry

*RoboK Limited – AI systems that generate insights from existing video data, such as CCTV, providing analysis on things like capacity and asset movement in real time, reducing delays and inefficiencies 

*Estudio Cactus – Trialling health, safety, security and environment software for real-time information on port status to improve efficiency and resource management

‘Whether it’s drones for deliveries on remote islands or zero emission buggies – we want to invest in the future technology which could transform how we move goods around the country, while reducing emissions and traffic, and creating skilled jobs,’ said Roads Minister, Richard Holden. ‘The Freight Innovation Fund gives innovators the opportunities to test their ideas and help our freight industry become greener and more efficient – unlocking better connectivity and boosting growth across the country.’

 A recent report outlined what the impact would be if 33% of home deliveries in urban areas used e-cargo bikes, rather than vans. 

Image: Erwan Hesry

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