Transforming the use of freight and logistics data to inform investment and policy decisions

Here at the UK’s innovation accelerator for cities, transport, and places we are undertaking a major project to understand how to source and make the most of freight and logistics data, to best meet the challenges facing the industry. 

We are working with the Department for Transport (DfT) on the logistics end-to-end data research project which will define an approach for accessing traditionally disparate data sets into actionable knowledge.  

We intend that this work will both help the industry to unblock pinch-points in their supply chains and the DfT to better understand freight flows across the transport system, identify inefficiencies and bottlenecks of freight movements, and better understand the value of freight moving through the network. This will allow them to improve the logistics network through targeted investment and policy decisions.  

There are currently many barriers to data sharing because of perceived legal and institutional barriers such asdata protection; process, standards and technical barriers, as well as data quality issues; cultural barriers to data sharing which include risk aversion; resource limitations which mean operators cannot afford to implement high quality data collection and dissemination; and a reluctance to share data which could affect a company’s competitive advantage. 

Therefore, we have pulled together a series of case studies demonstrating key enablers for successful data sharing practices and outcomes to help make better sharing of information a reality.  These will feed into the subsequent work packages that will result in the mapping of a product journey from end-to-end, and associated freight and logistics data use cases. 

“The logistics sector operates successfully as part of a complex and diverse value chain and is critical to the success and growth of UK plc,” explains Henry Tse, Executive Director for New Mobility Technologies at Connected Places Catapult. “The sector has risen to the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 and the significant changes in consumer behaviour and highlighted its role as one of the pillars of the UK economy. While it has achieved its current successes through an organic process of evolution, the scale of the change needed to meet the coming challenges means a more strategic and data-enabled approach is required.  Such challenges include lack of targeted investment, limited capacity, skills and employment, and the need to reduce the sector’s environmental impact.” 

This project will help lay the foundations for DfT to better understand data and how they can work with industry to use this to make more informed and evidence-based investment decisions relating to the freight and logistics sector.  

If you’re interested in discussing further, then please contact us at and reference ‘end-to-end logistics’. 

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