CHEP and Digital Catapult challenge tech start-ups to pitch carbon reduction ideas


Innovation hub Digital Catapult has teamed with supply chain specialist CHEP and with Siemens to challenge tech start-ups in the UK and Germany to address key issues facing the transport and logistics industry, such as minimising empty transport miles and part-load journeys. 

Digital Catapult promotes international collaboration between high-tech firms and established businesses, while CHEP pioneered the “share and reuse” model within supply chains and is one of the largest “circular economy” businesses in the world.

Focusing on artificial intelligence, machine learning and distributed ledger technologies (DLT), such as blockchain, Digital Catapult’s UK and Germany Global Challenge seeks start-ups that could work with CHEP (UK) and Siemens (Germany) to unlock even more opportunities around sustainable transport solutions 

Companies are carefully selected to take part based on their market size and position and their commercial flows between the UK and Germany. Specifically, Digital Catapult is looking for tech start-ups to work with CHEP to find solutions to the transport and logistics sector’s long-term issue of how to minimise empty miles between loads.

CHEP provides a “pallet as a service” concept to a high proportion of FMCG suppliers and retailers across the European supply chain, managing, maintaining and transporting over 115 million platforms, such as pallets and containers, across the continent.

The combination of its deliveries to grocery suppliers and collections from retailers, with “after the event” notification of movements between both parties, gives CHEP outstanding visibility of truck flows underpinning the European grocery supply chain.

Michael Archer, Zero Waste World Customer Solutions Director for Europe at CHEP, explained that top-level data showed that 25% of all truck miles are completely empty and, of those that are loaded, only around 55% capacity is used.

“As a company, we want to use our scale and visibility to help customers improve truck fill and take unneeded capacity off the roads, with consequential benefits including reduced cost, CO2, pollution, road congestion and drivers’ time.”

Michael Archer continued: “The main challenge is to use this tech to identify – as early as possible and ideally in advance of the orders being placed – the likelihood of needing to change pallet allocations and minimise ‘less than half truckload’ orders.

“This is a huge opportunity for a tech start-up to partner with us and face a long-standing issue for the entire transport and logistics sector head-on.”    

Jeremy Silver, CEO, Digital Catapult said: “We’re proud to be working with CHEP as we launch this exciting international innovation challenge to engage the most interesting and pioneering small technology companies in these two countries.”

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