The Government has launched a £7 million fund to help SMEs develop more efficient ways of improving the freight transport system.
The Freight Innovation Fund (FIF) will help 36 small and medium-sized enterprises work towards improving transport links and making the freight system greener.
Under the scheme they will liaise with industry-leading companies to develop innovations including ways to improve how freight moves between rail, road and maritime transport.
By giving innovators the opportunity to test their ideas, the fund aims to help SMEs roll out new technology and ways of working to unlock potentially huge efficiencies and decarbonisation across the sector.
Solutions could include facilitating the break-up of containers for the last part of their journey and boosting links between rail, maritime and road transport.
SMEs will have access to a freight innovation fund accelerator, which will provide bespoke business support to innovators to help them access private investment.
They will also benefit from a freight innovation cluster, a community of innovators within the freight industry that hosts regular networking events and activities.
Roads Minister Richard Holden said: “Our freight industry is vital to underpinning the economy and keeps Britain moving, so it is crucial we invest in new innovations to make it greener and quicker.
“This fund will accelerate new ideas and technologies, helping to develop a future pipeline of innovations that can be rolled out to create jobs and allow everyone to get their goods faster and easier.”