May 17, 2020

FTA joins Centre for Sustainable Road Freight

Freddie Pierce
3 min
The centre aims to minimise the trucking carbon output
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has become a consortium member of the new Centre for Sustainable Road Freight (CSRF), a £6 million UK ini...

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has become a consortium member of the new Centre for Sustainable Road Freight (CSRF), a £6 million UK initiative to minimize the environmental impact of road freight transport and providing opportunities for decarbonising freight.

The Centre aims to develop innovative technical operational solutions to road freight transport challenges and focus on tactics and strategies to meet UK government emissions reduction targets for the road freight sector.

The Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme (LCRS), managed by FTA, will be working with the Centre for Sustainable Road Freight to develop a Roadmap to indicate where the greatest carbon savings can be made within logistics operations in order for the sector to continue to reduce carbon emissions. The Roadmap will focus on both operational and technological measures and will also provide further evidence to government of the continued potential for the logistics sector to decarbonise.

A collaboration between Heriot-Watt University Logistics Research Centre and the University of Cambridge Engineering Department, CSRF brings together road freight vehicle engineering expertise from Cambridge and logistics expertise from Heriot-Watt in order to explore ways of making road freight economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.

The venture has been co-funded for the next five years by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, which has provided £4.4 million, and a new industry consortium (including FTA), which has contributed £1.4 million.

James Hookham, FTA Director of Policy & Communications said:

"FTA is delighted to be a consortium member of the Centre for Sustainable Road Freight, which will lead on relevant and much needed research projects to identify the best decarbonisation options for the sector. The level of support from operators and retailers and the calibre of the academics involved is also impressive.

"We need to answer the big questions in transport in order to contribute to national climate change reduction targets. For instance, we need to solve the issue of empty running; to know where emissions legislation will go next; and to know what impact specific decarbonisation interventions will have if they achieve widespread adoption."

The Centre for Sustainable Road Freight will conduct a range of research projects including optimising long haul transport which will look at developing ultra-lightweight and higher capacity vehicles; optimising the rolling resistance of tyres; and a study of air flow around and under vehicles to perfect aerodynamics. Studies will also focus on sustainable urban freight to include finding the most fuel efficient ways to organise logistics in cities; the influence of driver behaviour; and utilising alternative fuels such as natural gas.

The consortium also includes key freight operators such as John Lewis, Tesco, DHL, Warburtons, Wincanton, Laing O’Rourke and Denby Transport, as well as FTA, along with vehicle industry partners, including Volvo Group, Haldex, SDC Trailers and Optrak, among others.

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Jun 8, 2021

DHL Claim Multi-Sector Collaboration Key to Fighting COVID

3 min
Global logistics leader DHL’s new white paper highlights what supply chain professionals have learned one year into the pandemic

Since January, global logistics leader DHL has distributed more than 200 million doses of the COVID vaccine to 120+ countries around the globe. While the US and UK recently rolled out immunisation plans to most citizens, countries with less developed infrastructure still desperately need more doses. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which currently has one of the highest per-capita immunisation rates, the government set up storage facilities to cover domestic and international demand. But storage, as we’ve learned, is little help if you can’t transport the goods.


This is where logistics leaders such as DHL make their impact. The company built over 50 new partnerships, bilateral and multilateral, to collaborate with pharmaceutical and private sector firms. With more than 350 DHL centres pressed into service, the group operated 9,000+ flights to ship the vaccine where it needed to go. 


Public-Private Partnerships

With new pandemic knowledge, DHL just released its “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience” white paper, which examined the role of logistics and supply chain companies in handling COVID-19. As Thomas Ellman, Head of Clinical Trials Logistics at DHL, said: “The past one year has highlighted the importance of logistics and supply chain management to manage the pandemic, ensure business continuity and protect public health. It has also shown us that together we are stronger”. 


Multisector partnerships, DHL said, enabled rapid, effective vaccine distribution. While international scientists developed a vaccine in record time—five times faster than any other vaccine in history—manufacturers ramped up production and logistics teams rolled out distribution three times faster than expected. When commercial routes faced backups, logistics operators worked with military officers to transport vaccines via helicopters and boats. 


In the UAE, the public-private HOPE Consortium distributed billions of COVID-19 doses to its civilians as well as other countries in need by partnering with commercial organisations such as DHL. For the first time, apropo for an unprecedented pandemic, logistics companies made strong connections with public health and government.


“While the race against the virus continues, leveraging the power of such collaborations and data analytics will be key”, said Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL and Head of DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. “We need to remain prepared for high patient and vaccine volumes, maintain logistics infrastructure and capacity, while planning for seasonal fluctuations by providing a stable and well-equipped platform for the years to come”. 


How Do We Sustain Immunisation? 

By the end of 2021, experts estimate that we need approximately 10 billion doses of vaccines—many of which will be shipped to areas of the world, such as India, South Africa, and Brazil, that lack significant infrastructure. This is perhaps the greatest divide between countries that have rolled out successful immunisation programmes and those that have not. As Busch noted, “the UAE’s significant investments in creating robust air, sea, and land infrastructure facilitated logistics and vaccine distribution, helping us keep supply chains resilient”. 


Neither is the novel coronavirus a one-time affair. If predictions hold, COVID will be similar to seasonal colds or the flu: here to stay. When fall comes around each year, governments will need to vaccinate the world as quickly as possible to ensure long-term immunisation against the virus. This time, logistics companies must be better prepared. 

Yet global immunisation, year after year, is no small order. To keep reinfection rates low and slow the spread of COVID, governments will likely need 7-9 billion annual doses of the vaccine to meet that mark. And if DHL’s white paper is any judge of success, multi-sector supply chain partnerships will set the gold standard.

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