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Cooperation is the key to driving developments and managing the transition

The theme of CLOSER's annual conference at the end of March was the move towards a sustainable society. The conference was attended by players from different sectors who looked back at the results of their cooperation within CLOSER and also looked forwards to future ventures and initiatives.
People in front of green screen in studio area

- At CLOSER, everything we do is based on cooperation. We believe that cooperation is the key to driving developments that will lead to an effective transport system. We also believe that there are many innovations that have not yet been invented which could help us to create the transport and logistics services that will be needed by a future sustainable society, said Kristoffer Skjutare, acting programme manager for CLOSER, at the start of the conference. 

Many of the speakers during the course of the day agreed that cooperation plays a central role in the transport and logistics sector by enabling us to manage the transition and achieve our 2030 targets. The electrification of heavy goods vehicles is one part of the transport industry's transition which will help to reduce emissions. If players from different sectors cooperate, this will increase the opportunity of gaining a full understanding of the challenges that we face and also of what is needed to overcome them.

-The DenCity project, which has been run by CLOSER, changed opinions about the options for electrifying trucks and that helped us to understand that electrification is the future, said Anders Berger, director of public affairs at the Volvo Group. The cooperation within the project has been hugely important in getting us started. It was the opportunity for cooperation that made us take the risk and working with the other players in the consortium has enabled everyone to understand the big picture.

Bold ventures and leadership are also needed to drive development forwards. In addition, political initiatives play a role in accelerating the transition to a sustainable society.  

- Businesses and governments must invest in the transition. We can do this in a number of ways, but we must do it together, said Maria Nilsson-Öhman, sustainability specialist at DHL Freight Sverige. We can't rely solely on public bodies or on industry. Instead we must work together to achieve our 2030 targets.

- We can supply a lot of the technology that is needed for the transition. But it is important to remember that this is a long process. What we need to do now is to scale up the technology we have so that we can take the first step in the process of achieving our 2030 targets, said Aurore Belfrage, tech investor and senior advisor at AI Sweden. Sweden as a country must lead the cooperative process, together with commercial organisations, so that we can speed up the transition. That's why I am grateful for CLOSER and AI Sweden which are responsible for ensuring that different players in society are brought together and encouraged to cooperate.

It is possible to achieve our 2030 targets, but to do this we must work together!

At CLOSER's annual conference on 25 March, two new members were elected to the board of CLOSER. Lennart Karlsson, CEO of the logistics company Jula Logistics AB, and Klas Hjort, doctor of technology at the ReLog research centre at Lund University, will sit on the board in future, together with Robin Billsjö, freight strategist at the City of Stockholm, who once again was chosen by our partner organisations. We are very pleased to welcome the new board members to CLOSER, together with the other representatives on the board.
In 2021, CLOSER's board will consist of the following members.
Bo Hallams (chairperson), Steerlink, Agneta Wargsjö, Swedish Transport Administration, Märta Ghajar Amirnezami, Vinnova, Hans Fogelberg, Region Västra Götaland, Karin Wallin, Örebro County Council, Klas Hjort, ReLog/Lund University, Lennart Karlsson, Jula Logistics, Linda Borgenstam, DB Schenker, Matilda Lindström, RISE, Niklas Wahlberg, AB Volvo, Robin Billsjö, City of Stockholm, Tommy Eriksson, Jönköping County Council, Tord Hermansson, Lindholmen Science Park