Yusen Logistics is taking part in a project which aims to cut lorry emissions by slashing the amount of empty trucks on the UK's roads.

The Logistics Living Lab project will enable hauliers to use digital technologies to share space on their trucks with rivals without compromising commercial sensitivities.

Government data shows that road freight transportation and removal services produced 11.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2020, threatening the UK’s chance of reaching net zero by 2050.

The Logistics Living Lab project has been launched by Digital Catapult, which works with government, industry and academia to help the UK achieve its net zero target.

The project brings together Yusen Logistics, Vodafone Digital Asset Broker, Microsoft, Fuuse and Parity Technologies and has a brief to leverage emerging technologies including distributed ledger technology (DLT) and the Internet of Things (IoT) in order to cut empty running.

It plans to develop a shared digital infrastructure for more intelligent management of vehicle slot filling, routing and tracking which will allow competing logistics providers to safely share information on available truck space across their collective fleets, without any party needing full control or visibility of the whole system.

The Logistics Living Lab project is part of Digital Catapult’s Made Smarter Innovation Digital Supply Chain Hub, which has a brief to make supply chains more efficient, resilient and sustainable by developing and promoting the adoption of advanced digital technologies in supply chains across the UK.

Tim Lawrence, director of the Digital Supply Chain Hub, said, “Manufacturers are facing unprecedented cost and risk pressures across all areas of their businesses, especially in their supply chains, from increasing costs of energy, labour and logistics.

"There is growing demand from businesses to make supply chains more sustainable, and this logistics project can play a key role in demonstrating the benefits of working together to achieve this.”

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Leo Pickford, head of business change at Yusen Logistics, added, “Our customers, who are often operating on wafer-thin margins, need to find ways to reduce costs and cut emissions.

"Given that 25% of trucks still run empty, while a significant amount of operational planning is done at the last minute, logistics optimization, particularly in shared user transport (SUT), is a key area where operational efficiency can be realized.

“This project allows logistics companies like ours to collaborate and still compete in new and more efficient ways, with new business and governance models allowing logistics companies to work together to mutual advantage, reducing costs while working toward a more sustainable future.”

Digital Catapult is also planning to set up an observer gallery this month, which will showcase the ongoing results of the pilot and allow organizations to build on the work of the project. |Interested parties can register on the Digital Supply Chain Hub site.