HAULAGE firms across Yorkshire are taking a new route to reduce costs, cut crime and tackle climate change.
A European-wide organisation counting Huddersfield University among its backers is developing a vehicle intelligence system which allows truck drivers to get key information via their mobiles.
The new device, developed by North Sea Freight Intelligence Transport Solutions, will help the freight industry to reduce carbon emissions by encouraging better driving and avoiding excessive engine idling times.
The communications system will provide live information to commercial truck drivers and their managers as they work across the North Sea region.
The system will supply data including traffic updates and lorry-specific road conditions, the locations of secure parking and freight crime hotspots, information on foreign laws and route planning from a variety of sources and providers.
The information will be available to users in text, graphical and map formats, using mobile and satellite technology.
To use the system, the driver will download the application to his or her mobile phone. The dispatcher also has access to the information through a PC version at their premises.
Both systems are then synchronised to enable communication from trucker to dispatcher at headquarters and vice versa.
Using a mobile phone, the driver will be notified when the container ship is in port, avoiding unnecessary delays and additional carbon emissions. The driver then uses the new system to plan the route, taking into account weather and traffic incidents and known crime hotspots.
On the way to the container terminal, the driver will get another update that the ship has been unloaded. Just before getting into the terminal, the driver will be told which truck line to join and given an approximation of the length of time it will take to complete the transaction within the port.
The result is increased efficiency, which should result on lower carbon emissions to benefit the environment and the haulage firm’s bottom line.
Development and testing of the NS FRITS system will be completed this year.
The university’s partners include Sheffield-based charity People United Against Crime, truck manufacturer Volvo, Avanti Communications and the Dutch Police.
David Ransom, chief executive of People United Against Crime, said the system would provide a major boost for Yorkshire’s 6,900-plus logistics companies, which together employ 91,000 people and contribute £4.2bn to the regional economy.
“Reducing CO2 and road congestion will have dramatic impact upon the industry as a whole and help the region’s economy,” he said.
“According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the issue is not just a ‘massive threat to the global environment, it is also perhaps the greatest economic challenge facing us in the 21st century’.
“The UK is leading the carbon economy effort with a commitment to cut emissions by 80% by 2050. The climate change agenda affects the freight industry dramatically, in particular road transport. In the UK road transport, accounts for 92% of freight related carbon emissions.”