Low-carbon logistics project will aid transport decisions

Transport operators and their customers are set to benefit from a project aimed at helping them collect and share data to make their operations more efficient.

The ERTOC project (Efficient and Reliable Transportation of Consignments) is a collaboration between GS1 UK, Ricardo, Unipart Logistics, IRIS Technology and Coventry University, part funded by the government-backed Technology Strategy Board.

The focus of the two-year project is to demonstrate how a standards-based open-architecture data hub can be used to track the carbon costs of transport at consignment level. By understanding the true environmental costs involved, users will be able to compare and assess different transport options.

A small trial of the system will use the information required for carbon tracking to show how a data-centric open architecture can deliver new functions. This demonstration will be used to identify necessary refinements to achieve a marketable system.

A critical aspect of the programme is the collection and intelligent storage of raw data from a number of sources including on-vehicle systems. Enabling users to make better-informed decisions on when and how to ship goods will spread the load on the transport infrastructure and encourage greater use of multi-modal shipping. Emissions will be reduced by more effective use of transport, sharing of load capacity and improvement in driver behaviour.

Richard Bruges, head of innovation at Unipart Logistics, said: "Our clients are increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of their supply chains and need much better information about the true environmental costs of product sourcing decisions. We expect ERTOC to provide a significant step forward by delivering accurate data to replace the estimates and proxy data on which current analysis depends."


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