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Multimodal Conference 2023

Roadblocks to sustainable freight – and how to overcome them

02nd August 2023

Written by

Dr. Christopher de Saxe

Head of Sustainability

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Back in June, I had the pleasure of moderating a panel discussion at Multimodal 2023. Multimodal is the largest intermodal and freight transport event in the UK, attracting more than 10,000 visitors. It showcases the latest innovations and solutions for the industry, as well as providing a platform for networking and learning.

The panel discussion centred around “Roadblocks to sustainable freight – and how to overcome them”. This is a huge challenge facing businesses today, and solving this requires a wide range of stakeholders to be working together. As such, the panel featured a diverse range of experts from different sectors, each offering unique perspectives, insights, and experience of best practice.

The panel included Hizmy Hassan, Chief Digital Officer at Apollo Tyres; John Trenchard, Commercial and Supply Chain Director at DP World UK; Ailsa Dormon of Sustainability Consultancy, Sancroft and Alistair Barnes, Senior Programme Manager at Innovate UK

A key topic emerging from the conversation was the cost of transitioning to net-zero in freight. John Trenchard explained how DP World UK is implementing a four-step strategy to reduce their carbon footprint and offer sustainable intermodal options to their customers. He also highlighted the need for collaboration and innovation across the supply chain to achieve net-zero.

Hizmy Hassan shared his experience in using recycled rubber for tires, and the challenges that come with it. He highlighted t emissions associated with the additional transportation of recycled materials, and the lack of scale in sustainable practices that leads to higher prices. He suggested that partnerships between companies and government grants could help overcome these barriers.

Ailsa Dormon, representing sustainability consultancy Sancroft, emphasised the need to assist businesses in their journeys to create and adopt decarbonisation strategies. She mentioned some of the successful pilots that Cambridge Institute of Manufacturing has conducted, showing significant reductions in waste and energy efficiency. Alistair Barnes added a government perspective, and discussed how the Zero-Emission Road Freight Trials (which kick off this year) will help the government refine their own policy direction and industry support programmes. Ailsa stressed the importance of changing existing mindsets and behaviours to embrace sustainability as a core value.

Zeus commissioned a full recording of the panel as it happened, and you can watch the entire video on YouTube here