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Increased legal competence needed in innovation processes

CLOSER, the national arena for increased transportation efficiency in Sweden, held its annual meeting on March 7. During the day of seminars, focus was directed towards two thematic areas being established: connected and digitalized logistics, and energy supply and logistics.

emelie_500x600.jpgEmelie Wramsby from the international logistics giant DB Schenker, was one of those who appeared during the introductory seminar that morning. She spoke about the next generation of transport, being formed by developments such as growing e-commerce.

“Our customers’ needs are changing quickly, and the market is fragmenting,” she maintained. 

Afterward, Emelie Wramsby answered a few summarizing questions:

How are logistics systems affected when e-commerce changes customers’ needs?
“We are getting more deliveries to proxies and more home deliveries, and more fragmented flows. We are also seeing an increase in international e-commerce shipments, in pace with the world becoming the customer’s home market – and increased demands for transparency along the entire logistics chain.”

But digitalization also affects larger customers. How?
“Digitalization is a part of customers’ greater demands for service. In the future, we also see that matching loads with load capacity for certain segments will increasingly occur on digital platforms. DB Schenker has invested in a company called uShip, and is developing a platform called Drive4Schenker. The first step is to use it for our hauliers, in order to link it to product owners – that is, our customers – in the future.

“Digitalization places demands, but above all produces unforeseen possibilities for solutions to both customer requirements and to reducing our environmental impact. We see great potential in collaborating in certain areas: together, we are stronger than each of us by ourselves. One clear example of this is the development of standards, where a shared solution would be of benefit to the entire logistics chain. We believe that CLOSER adds great value as a unifier for forums where such issues can be discussed.”

The afternoon was devoted to the field of energy supply – the second area of focus currently being started up as part of CLOSER. Magnus Blinge, whose past career included time at Chalmers, has been working just over half a year as project manager. He started off by providing a broad background.

magnus_500x600.jpg“Carbon emissions must decrease 70 percent by 2030,” he stated.

Magnus, this venture as part of CLOSER is in a beginning phase. Where are we now?
“We are in the starting box in order to invite stakeholders to an initial meeting in a roundtable group, where we will discuss various challenges that need to be made tangible and find solutions for them. At that point, we will find the tasks CLOSER and our partners will take on.”

What do the challenges look like?
“The transportation sector has to reduce emissions of fossil-fuel-based greenhouse gases by 70 percent within 13 years. Fuel based on biomaterials will not be enough as an individual measure. Nor will transfer of freight to railway and shipping. That is why we must also work on enhancing the efficiency of the entire freight transport system. In addition, this requires a relatively rapid expansion of charging infrastructure and expansion into alternative fuels. How will this happen, and who will be responsible for the necessary investments? And how will this be implemented in an international context, with Swedish competitiveness maintained or improved?

How can CLOSER make a difference?
“We gather together the necessary operators, and serve as a neutral arena where we produce facts and conditions for conducting projects in research and development. We serve as a catalyst, getting the necessary changes to happen more quickly than they would have if the operators were acting on their own.”
 

bosse_500x600.jpgBo Hallams, currently working for the consulting firm Steerlink, has been the chairman of CLOSER since 2015.

How would you summarize your impressions of the day of seminars?
 “I have two reflections, one dealing with legal issues and one with even more cooperation around alternative energy sources.” 

“We have to reflect on how we can bring legal competence into cooperation around innovation. More and more frequently, we run up against the issue of regulatory obstacles, where we have a feeling that an innovation would comply with the intention, but not the current wording, of the rules. We need to find ways of bringing in legal competence in earlier in the innovation process, if we are going to manage reorganizing quickly.”
 
“In the area of energy, it became clear that we had to increase the exchange of knowledge around points of view concerning sustainable sources of energy in various sectors of the logistics market. So much dealt with future fuels for passenger cars that, perhaps, the heavier vehicle side of things ended up in the shadows. Operators in the logistics sector and the government authorities responsible should world together, and I imagine that CLOSER can be an excellent platform for that.”

CLOSER’s latest operating year – how would you describe it?
“It has been inspiring! A larger number of companies and organizations are turning to us, and our ‘old’ partners remain deeply involved. Innovations and cooperation in this form are not only important in themselves. They also create positive energy, an exchange of knowledge, and new working relationships that many people take with them into the rest of their work.”

 

 

CLOSER gathers academia, the private sector and authorities to build collaborations and projects to develop and promote awareness of how to optimize transportation efficiency.  Lindholmen Science Park is the host of CLOSER. More information at closer.lindholmen.se