Transporting freight better, smarter and more sustainably

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A group of logistics experts has launched a video that highlights the pioneering work they have been leading to help deliver smarter and more sustainable freight transport across North West Europe.

Through an EU-funded project, Weastflows (West and East freight flows), partners from private and public sectors, as well as researchers are undertaking a series of inter-connected activities and practical demonstration projects using innovative ICT solutions. This activity aims to identify challenges and opportunities to improve freight movement, and encourage greener supply chains across Europe and beyond.

Ian Short, Chief Executive at the Institute for Sustainability in the UK and Weastflows partner, said: "Latest EU figures show freight transport is increasing by 2.5% per annum*. This means more pressure on existing transport systems, more congestion and more pollution. Through smart solutions and real-time testing, Weastflows partners are working to improve freight journeys and show how a shift to more sustainable transport modes, including rail and sea, can help reduce environmental impact and maintain the region's position as a global freight hub."
The video provides an overview of the key activity taking place across Europe including:

  • Developing the first intermodal route planner that calculates the fastest freight route by road, rail and sea against estimated journey costs across Europe. This freely available resource helps transport buyers and logistics professionals to identify and plan optimal, more efficient and cost effective journeys through more sustainable freight routes, avoiding an over reliance on road haulage, and therefore reducing CO2 emissions
  • Trialling an integrated online tracking system to deliver greater efficiency when moving goods from origin to destination, allowing full traceability from anywhere in the world. The tracking system gives shippers 'real-time' information about where their produce is; enabling them to plan their logistics more efficiently to reduce the number of journeys and vehicles on the road, help keep fresh produce in perfect condition and improve customer service
  • Analysing comprehensive layers of data from across six European countries to create an interactive mapping tool, which will allow users to identify under-used networks and traffic bottlenecks across all modes of transport, and highlight where alternative routes can be used. The analysis will also include planned transport upgrades, which will help freight companies plan ahead and alleviate congestion caused by increasing transport demand.

Robin Poté, Chief Executive of CRITT Transport et Logistique in France and Weastflows lead partner, said: "The project's results will be shared with industry organisations, private sector businesses and transport authorities to help inform and influence the direction of future freight and logistics policy at the European level. By sharing the learning, Weastflows aims to help the region maintain its competitiveness whilst encouraging innovation and sustainable economic growth."

Weastflows is an Interreg IVB NWE project part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

*Eurostat 2013

For more information on the project's activity, watch the video at: http://www.weastflows.eu/news-archive/multi-media/

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