DiRECTLY_Pressphoto_Copyright_Kristian_H_ReinauInnovation Fund Denmark (IFD) has announced it will part-finance a new, 15m kroner ($2.2m) project to develop an automated logistics system that will let shippers fill more empty miles.

The project, called DiRectly, will help freight companies cut transport costs and carbon emissions by minimising empty journeys and help truck companies earn more income with return loads.

Quoting EU figures, IFD said 24% of an average truck’s journey was currently run empty while vehicles on average carried only 57% of their maximum capacity.

The project involves a consortium made up of the Department of Civil Engineering, the Department of Business and Management, and the Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at Denmark's Aalborg University. It also involves the Centre for Transport Studies at Imperial College London, logistics software provider GateHouse Logistics, and law firm Bech-Bruun, along with logistics consultancy the Center for Logistics and Collaboration, Danish carriers Freja Transport and Logistics and Danske Fragtmænd, and the Danish Chamber of Commerce.

"The system will enable logistics providers to optimise their operations, but it also brings value to society because less HGVs on roads reduces traffic congestion and cuts greenhouse gas emissions," said associate professor and project leader at the Department of Civil Engineering at Aalborg University, Kristian Hegner Reinau. "Affiliated members of the logistics system will be able to utilise the real-time position of thousands of trucks on the roads and their capacity to take loads."

GateHouse Logistics, which is providing the supply chain tracking and fleet management technology, will develop the service.

The system will draw GPS data from trucks in the scheme with carriers pooling updated information on each vehicle’s free capacity. Freja Transport and Logistics and Danske Fragtmænd will be using their fleets to test the system, which is expected to become generally available by 2020.