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The Volvo Group is initiating co-operation within the Swedish government’s logistics forum and with the authorities to realise the EU Commission’s concept regarding environmentally sound goods transport in ‘green corridors’. The goal is to reduce the impact on the environment while simultaneously increasing efficiency and safety on highways through specially adapted transport stretches for heavy traffic.
The EU Commission estimates that goods transports in Europe will have increased by 50% between 2000 and 2020. These rising volumes will require investments in all transport modes, including railways and seaborne traffic.
“Increased investments are required in railways and seaborne traffic, but it will not be sufficient, neither from an efficiency nor an environmental perspective,” says Volvo CEO Leif Johansson. “At the same time, we must provide for more efficient and more environmentally sound road transports and, among other aspects, this is one of the goals of the green corridors.”
In support of the development of green transport corridors, the Volvo Group and transport company DB Schenker, which are both members of the government’s logistics forum, are now initiating co-operation with VINNOVA (Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems) and the Swedish Road Administration. The aim is to jointly start a project already in January 2009 regarding a more efficient handling of goods on Swedish highways.
The project is in line with the EU’s action plan for logistics that specifically highlights the need for green transport corridors in which goods traffic is concentrated to efficient highways, sea routes and railways that complement one another, so that transportation becomes as environmentally sound as possible. The Swedish government has already begun work with proposals for such corridors that will be presented in conjunction with Sweden’s presidency of the EU Council next autumn.
The project comprises the development of new technologies and new approaches to applying existing technology that can quickly reduce environmental impact. It will be carried out using realistic tests of goods transports that are rolling on stretches of highways approved in advance by the authorities.
One of the tests involves a so-called Duo-trailer, which involves an extension of the entire vehicle rig - including the trailer - and is based on the European 25.25m module concept. A longer vehicle, with greater load capacity, results in fewer trucks in the green transport corridors, which in turn means fewer accidents and reduced environmental impact. In addition, the project will test new IT systems in the vehicles that help the driver to drive more fuel economically and communicate with the vehicle and with the road system, which increases efficiency and road safety.
Other conceivable projects within the framework for the co-operation could comprise evaluation of how to simplify reloading and transfer of goods between different transport modes such as trains, trucks and ships. Another project proposal involves how to distribute and use alternative and renewable fuels via the goods terminals in the green transport corridors.
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