“The goods strategy is a very high priority for the Government.” It was with these words that Mattias Landgren, State Secretary to Minister for Infrastructure Tomas Eneroth, marked the opening of the year’s major conference on efficient transport, organised by Northern LEAD and CLOSER.
The sixth Transport Efficiency Day, Treff17, was held on August 24 and focused extensively on development in the here and now – on the themes of digitalisation, urbanisation, energy efficiency and “routes towards the vision”.
It was clear during the day that collaboration is key in order to keep pace with the development.
“The next major step in digitalisation is to focus on collaboration. We need to establish how we can collaborate and share business models, resources and data, and transform insights into actions through automation,” says Olle Isaksson, Global Head of Strategy Management in the Customer Group Industry & Society at Ericsson.
Lina Olsson from CLOSER talked about digitalisation as a driving force for improving the efficiency of transport. She pointed out that we still have a long way to go before we have harnessed all the opportunities available in the automation of logistics services.
“Generally speaking, there is a great deal of manual work. Better collaboration is required in this area in Sweden, for example in managing standards, issues of responsibility and business models,” she says.
Collaboration and the exchange of information also form the basic foundation of the EU project titled AEOLIX, which aims to create a “digital ecosystem” for freight transport information sharing in Europe. Chalmers is one of the participating parties, and during the day, Project Coordinator Eusebiu Catana from ERTICO spoke of the importance of improving the visibility of data throughout the logistics chain.
“Implementing a platform such as this for exchanging information naturally involves considerable challenges. But it also gives us the opportunity to be truly innovative in many areas,” he says.
“The next major step in digitalisation is to focus on collaboration. We
need to establish how we can collaborate and share business models,
resources and data, and transform insights into actions through
Olle Isaksson, Ericsson
Another international speaker, Sergio Barbarino from Procter & Gamble and ALICE, talked about the possibilities of “the Physical Internet” – in which the internet is the metaphor for how logistics systems of the future will work. The goal: make better use of time and capacity.
“Today there is a large amount of unused capacity in goods management. We must utilise all available capacity, share the assets and ensure that we make the entire process environmentally friendly,” he says.
On the theme of urbanisation Helene Giaina from DB Schenker Consulting explained how dynamic management on ring roads can improve the efficiency of goods transport in and out of our cities.
“We need to optimise our existing infrastructure rather than rebuilding it or building new infrastructure. For example, this can consist of dynamically directing goods traffic to prioritised lanes. Digitalisation is also a key factor; connecting traffic to manage and optimise flows,” she says.
Björn Garberg from the Swedish Transport Administration emphasised that shipping is an important part of the solution for a more energy-efficient transport system. Garberg believes that there are many advantages of transferring goods from road to sea, although he also pointed out many challenges.
“For transport buyers, shipping is not as fast and flexible as road haulage, for example, and from political quarters there is no clear action plan for how a transfer from road to sea should take place,” he says.
According to Garberg, many people need to do a great deal of work on this issue.
“Port owners need to review their pricing models and find ways of stimulating the transition, goods owners must dare to try new transport solutions and urban planners need to review which valuation principles should govern investments in infrastructure.
Concurrently, some form of coordinating function is required to ensure that all of this becomes a reality,” he says.
One of the more visionary items in the programme was presented by adventurer and entrepreneur Fredrik Sträng. He has invested time, energy and many millions of kronor into his firm belief: that airships are part of the future for the sustainable transport of goods. According to Sträng, the negative legacy from the Hindenburg disaster is a major stumbling block to development, even though completely different technology is used today.
Sträng stated that “cowardice, convenience and power structures” can prevent humanity from adopting new, green technology, and he concluded his presentation by urging the audience:
“We need more bold entrepreneurs and investors. So, dare to go for it and be a bit crazier.”
Text: Ulrika Ernström
Additional voices from Transport Efficiency Day 2017:
“Without goods transport, society stops. Meanwhile, new consumption patterns demand fast deliveries and increased flexibility.”
Helene Giaina, DB Schenker Consulting
“Why The Internet of Things? Because it makes the physical problem sexy! Everybody wants to work with digitalisation…”
Sergio Barbarino, Procter & Gamble and ALICE
“Within the CIVIC project we have compiled data from four countries about how to create successful construction logistics in urban environments. It is clear that more stringent requirements and more control simultaneously limit entrepreneurs’ freedom to find their own solutions.”
Kajsa Hulthén, Chalmers
“Don’t just wait for a certain type of technology or certain situation. Start now, learn – then you’ll see what is worth pursuing further.”
Henrik Lae, Scania
About Transport Efficiency Day
Transport Efficiency Day, Treff, is an annual conference on transport efficiency, which attracts representatives from the business community, the academic world, government agencies and society. The conference is organised by the research centre Northern LEAD at Chalmers and the University of Gothenburg, together with CLOSER at Lindholmen Science Park.