Three-year LTL, FTL and intermodal pilots involving more than 90 industry players demonstrating CO2 reductions of 20-70% hailed as ‘a game changer’.
NexTrust, a ‘think tank’ specialising in collaborative logistics, has hailed the “significant success” of its recently concluded EU-funded project that identified ways of improving the efficiency and sustainability of the European logistics industry, with a particular focus on road-borne freight.
“This was the first time ever in European logistics history that shippers were pro-actively cooperating on a large scale to reduce the environmental impact of transport and create logistics efficiency gains, all while in compliance with EU competition regulations,” it underlined.
With financial support from the EU Horizon 2020 fund, more than 30 project partners worked on developing and validating a concept in which shippers, retailers and carriers are able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by increasing load factors as well as reducing empty running.
The key innovation of the new business model is “the neutral trustee function, which guarantees legal compliance with competition law, whilst also ensuring that companies’ own legal compliance rules are respected. For example, controls are in place, allowing the exchange of non-commercially sensitive information between trusted collaborative partners,” the project explained.
Within the 42-month project duration, more than 90 industry players participated in over 40 pilot cases, working together to develop scenarios to bundle freight volumes in order to reduce empty trips and shift loads from the road to environmentally friendly transport such as intermodal rail and sea.
The pilots covered four categories: less-than-truckload, full truckload, intermodal pilots and e-commerce, and sustainability was demonstrated with CO2 reductions of between 20% and 70% observed.
“The challenge is picking up this agenda and moving it on,” said Professor Alan Waller, chairman of the European Logistics Users Providers and Enablers Group (ELUPEG), one of the partners in the NexTrust. “NexTrust has demonstrated that the feasibility and desirability of this (collaborative logistics), the benefits to business, and the benefits to the environment. All of these are unquestionable now.”
He went on to describe the NexTrust project as “a game changer, enabling people to work together, not only to improve European supply chains but improve their own business performance and also to save the planet – all of these (things) at the same time; so it’s going to be unique”.