Freightliner train loading intermodal containers

UK Freight Innovation Fund encourages rail development

Image: Freightliner.

The UK Government has launched the latest tranche of its seed funding initiative, the Freight Innovation Fund. The initiative could encourage rail freight innovation across all sectors. The seven million pound (8.2 million euros) cross-modal cash grant is intended to help drive towards a net-zero carbon economy. UK small businesses with ideas on cross-modal logistics are being encouraged to engage with rail freight operators and others to help develop products and services.

The cross-modal Freight Innovation Fund (FIF) is part of the UK Government’s Future of Freight strategy, which sets out a long-term vision for the UK freight sector. The FIF funding, which will be shared by up to twelve applicant businesses, is administered by the Department for Transport (DfT). Partner businesses that have already agreed to provide mentoring and support include several rail freight operators and partners.

Latest funding tranche just launched

In principle, the cross-modal Freight Innovation Fund (FIF) offers seed funding to small companies and start-ups with logistics ideas that could be applied to integrate with rail freight operators. The fund is part of the Future of Freight strategy, which sets out the Government’s long-term vision for the UK freight sector, regardless of transport mode.

The funding programme is in its third year, and the latest tranche has just been launched (on 1 May). The fund is held by the Government’s Department for Transport (DfT) and delivered through the Connected Places Catapult, an arms-length organisation set up to encourage industrial innovation across a wide range of industries.

Accelerate commercially ready solutions

The level of funding is quite small, but it is intended to get ideas off the drawing board. The total pot for the year is 1.8 million pounds (2.1 million euro). The intention is to encourage grassroots development and will be shared by up to twelve successful applicant businesses. “The Freight Innovation Fund is a multi-faceted programme which will accelerate the adoption of commercially ready solutions into the sector”, said a DfT statement. “[The FIF will] support innovative tech across the industry to decarbonise freight and boost the UK supply chain in deploying cutting-edge AI technology and automation to improve the way trains, lorries, vans, and ships carry parcels and goods.”

Maritime is one of two mentors in the rail freight sector, alongside Freightliner. Image: © Maritime Transport.

The first two years of the fund saw nearly three million pounds (3.5 million euros) allocated to several SMEs. They worked with industry-leading companies to improve how freight is carried across rail, maritime and road transport. Rail freight partners in this tranche include the rail freight operators Freightliner and Maritime. Also involved are rail freight-connected businesses, such as the port operators DP World and Forth Ports at Tilbury in London. Businesses can, however, apply even if they have their own partner organisation already on board or have a stand-alone idea.

The FIF remains open for applications until 9 June. The DfT is hosting an introductory webinar on 16 May. The FIF runs concurrent with the longer-established Transport Research and Innovation Grants scheme (TRIG), which this year closes for applications later this month (on 21 May).

Author: Simon Walton

Simon Walton is RailFreight's UK correspondent.

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UK Freight Innovation Fund encourages rail development | RailFreight.com
Freightliner train loading intermodal containers

UK Freight Innovation Fund encourages rail development

Image: Freightliner.

The UK Government has launched the latest tranche of its seed funding initiative, the Freight Innovation Fund. The initiative could encourage rail freight innovation across all sectors. The seven million pound (8.2 million euros) cross-modal cash grant is intended to help drive towards a net-zero carbon economy. UK small businesses with ideas on cross-modal logistics are being encouraged to engage with rail freight operators and others to help develop products and services.

The cross-modal Freight Innovation Fund (FIF) is part of the UK Government’s Future of Freight strategy, which sets out a long-term vision for the UK freight sector. The FIF funding, which will be shared by up to twelve applicant businesses, is administered by the Department for Transport (DfT). Partner businesses that have already agreed to provide mentoring and support include several rail freight operators and partners.

Latest funding tranche just launched

In principle, the cross-modal Freight Innovation Fund (FIF) offers seed funding to small companies and start-ups with logistics ideas that could be applied to integrate with rail freight operators. The fund is part of the Future of Freight strategy, which sets out the Government’s long-term vision for the UK freight sector, regardless of transport mode.

The funding programme is in its third year, and the latest tranche has just been launched (on 1 May). The fund is held by the Government’s Department for Transport (DfT) and delivered through the Connected Places Catapult, an arms-length organisation set up to encourage industrial innovation across a wide range of industries.

Accelerate commercially ready solutions

The level of funding is quite small, but it is intended to get ideas off the drawing board. The total pot for the year is 1.8 million pounds (2.1 million euro). The intention is to encourage grassroots development and will be shared by up to twelve successful applicant businesses. “The Freight Innovation Fund is a multi-faceted programme which will accelerate the adoption of commercially ready solutions into the sector”, said a DfT statement. “[The FIF will] support innovative tech across the industry to decarbonise freight and boost the UK supply chain in deploying cutting-edge AI technology and automation to improve the way trains, lorries, vans, and ships carry parcels and goods.”

Maritime is one of two mentors in the rail freight sector, alongside Freightliner. Image: © Maritime Transport.

The first two years of the fund saw nearly three million pounds (3.5 million euros) allocated to several SMEs. They worked with industry-leading companies to improve how freight is carried across rail, maritime and road transport. Rail freight partners in this tranche include the rail freight operators Freightliner and Maritime. Also involved are rail freight-connected businesses, such as the port operators DP World and Forth Ports at Tilbury in London. Businesses can, however, apply even if they have their own partner organisation already on board or have a stand-alone idea.

The FIF remains open for applications until 9 June. The DfT is hosting an introductory webinar on 16 May. The FIF runs concurrent with the longer-established Transport Research and Innovation Grants scheme (TRIG), which this year closes for applications later this month (on 21 May).

Author: Simon Walton

Simon Walton is RailFreight's UK correspondent.

Add your comment

characters remaining.

Log in through one of the following social media partners to comment.