“Freight strategy has a very high priority for the government”. With these words, Mattias Landgren, the Secretary of State for the Minister for Infrastructure, Tomas Eneroth, marked the start of this year’s major conference on efficient transports, organized by Northern LEAD and CLOSER.
The sixth Transport Efficiency Day, Treff17, was held on August 24 and focused on developments here and now - with digitization, urbanization, energy efficiency and “pathways toward the vision” as themes.
It was clear during the day that collaboration is key to keeping up with developments.
“The next major step in digitization is to focus on cooperation. We need to safeguard how we can collaborate and share business models, resources and data, and convert insights into actions through automation,” says Olle Isaksson, Global Head of Strategy Management, Industry & Society at Ericsson.
Lina Olsson, CLOSER, spoke about digitization as a driver to streamline transports. She emphasized that much work remains befo
re we can utilize all of the potential for automating logistics services.
“Generally, a great deal is done manually. Better collaboration is required in the area in Sweden, where, for example, standards, liability issues and business models can be managed,” she says.
Collaboration and the exchange of information also form the foundation of the EU project AEOLIX, with the objective of creating a “digital ecosystem” for freight transport in Europe. Chalmers is one participating party, and during the day the project coordinator Eusebiu Catana, ERTICO, spoke of the need to improve the visibility of data throughout the logistics chain.
“Implementing a platform such as this for exchanging information naturally entails major challenges. But it also offers us an opportunity to be really innovative in many areas,” he says.
Another international lecturer, Sergio Barbarino, from Procter & Gamble and ALICE, talked about the opportunities of “The Physical Internet” – where internet is a metaphor for how logistics systems of the future will work. The aim: to improve the use of time and capacity.
“Today, there is a large amount of spare capacity in freight handling. We must use all available capacity, share assets and ensure that the entire process is environmentally friendly,” he says.
On the theme of urbanization, Helene Giaina, DB Schenker Consulting, discussed how dynamic control of bypasses can be used to streamline freight transport entering and leaving our cities.
“We need to optimize our existing infrastructure rather than rebuilding and building new infrastructure. For example, this could mean dynamically steering freight transport to prioritized lanes. Digitization is also a key factor; connecting transport to control and optimize flows,” she says.
Björn Garberg at the Swedish Transport Administration emphasized that maritime transport is an important part of the solution for a more energy-efficient transport system. There are many advantages to moving freight from road to sea, Garberg feels, at the same time as he pointed to many challenges.
“For transport purchasers, marine transport is slower and less flexible than, say, a truck, and a clear action plan is lacking at political level for how a transfer from road to sea transport can be achieved,” he says.
This is where “a lot needs to be done by many people”, according to Björn Garberg.
“Port owners need to review their pricing models and find way to stimulate the transfer, product owners must dare to test new transport arrangements and social planners need to review the types of measurement principles that control investments in infrastructure.”
“At the same time, some form of coordinating function is required to ensure that this becomes a reality,” he says.
One of the more visionary elements in the program was presented by the adventurer and entrepreneur Fredrik Sträng. He has invested time, energy and many millions into his conviction: that airships will play a role in the future of sustainable freight transport. According to Fredrik Sträng, the legacy of the Hindenburg catastrophe is a major obstacle to developments, even though entirely different technology is used today.
“Cowardice, convenience and power structures” can prevent humanity from embracing new, green technology, insists Fredrik – who finished his presentation with an appeal:
“More brave entrepreneurs and investors are needed. Dare to take a chance and be a little more crazy.”
More voices from the Transport Efficiency Day 2017:
“Society would grind to a halt without freight transport. At the same time, new consumption patterns require fast deliveries and greater flexibility”.
Helene Giaina, DB Schenker Consulting
“Why the Internet of Things? Because it makes the physical problem sexy! Everybody wants to work with digitization…”
Sergio Barbarino, Procter & Gamble and ALICE
“As part of the CIVIC project, we collected data from four countries on how to solve construction logistics in urban surroundings. It is clear that interproject control of construction logistics facilitates resource sharing but also limits the freedom of a contractor to use its own solutions”
Kajsa Hulthén, Chalmers
“Do not wait around for a specific technology or specific situation. Start now, teach yourself – then you can see what is worth proceeding with”
Henrik Lae, Scania
About the Transport Efficiency Day:
The Transport Efficiency Day, Treff, is an annual conference about transport efficiency, that assembles representatives from the business community, academia, administrations and society. The conference is organized by the Northern LEAD research center at Chalmers and Gothenburg University, together with CLOSER at Lindholmen Science Park.