Digital technology is expected to play an increasing role in the freight sector. For example, Internet of Things technology can be used to monitor cargo, in place of manual checks, with sensors providing information on the location, temperature and humidity of goods. Some large transportation companies are working to digitise paper-based processes by using blockchain’s digital ledger, enabling secure information exchange between supply chain partners. The Department for Transport published a Future of Freight plan in June 2022, developed in partnership with industry. It set out the Government’s long-term vision for the UK freight sector, including a £7m Freight Innovation Fund to connect the sector to innovators and maximise the use of technology and data across freight and logistics.

This POSTnote will provide an overview of the digital technologies that may shape the future of freight, including connected vehicles, the Internet of Things, use of automation at ports and distribution centres, blockchain technology for tracking goods, and emerging forms of freight transport such as drones. It will discuss the potential benefits and challenges of these technologies and would look at their potential future impact on areas including the environment, infrastructure, and the freight industry.

Work on this briefing will commence in September 2022.

To contribute expertise or literature, please e-mail Lorna Christie

Photo by Guillaume Bolduc on Unsplash

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