First E-Highway

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Sweden starts Project for Trucks

The trolley system has been existing for a long time – for buses in cities. Now Sweden has started an overhead contact line for trucks on a two-kilometer strip on a highway north of Stockholm. The test phase will run for two years. Siemens and truck manufacturer Skania developed the system. Sensors enable the trucks to tap on the power line. Yet, the trucks are diesel hybrids. Which allows for the needed flexibility. Moreover, the trucks might also run with batteries or natural gas.
Sweden has ambitious goals. Until 2030, all traffic is supposed to work without using fossil fuels. Currently, a third of Sweden’s carbon emissions is caused by traffic, half of that by transport.

New Container Weight Regulations

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From July 1, 2016 shippers need to obey new container weight verification rules. In November 2014, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted mandatory amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) for packed containers received for transportation at sea (gate-in or off-rail). These new rules place a requirement on the shipper of a packed container to verify and provide the container’s gross weight to the ocean carrier and port terminal representative prior to it being loaded onto a ship.

These new SOLAS regulations will apply to all packed containers to which IMO’s Convention for Safe Containers (CSC) applies and which are to be loaded onto a ship in international maritime traffic.

The main principles of the new rules are:
1.    The responsibility for obtaining and documenting the verified gross weight of a packed container lies with the shipper.
2.    Verified container weights are to be used by the terminal operator and the vessel operator in ship stowage and planning.

There are two methods for obtaining the verified gross mass of a packed container:
No. 1 (IMO Guidelines, § 5.1.1.): Upon the conclusion of packing and sealing a container and by using calibrated and certified equipment, the shipper or his representative weighs the packed container.
This is the standard method and is appropriate to use for any packed container and any kind of goods.

No. 2 (IMO Guidelines, § 5.1.2.): The shipper or his representative weighs all packages and cargo items, including the mass of pallets, dunnage and other packing and securing material to be packed in the container, and adds the tare mass of the container to the sum of the single masses of the container’s contents. In this method, estimating the weight of the container’s contents is not permitted.

Regardless of whether method is used to obtain the verified weight of the container, the SOLAS amendments and the IMO Guidelines are clear that the shipper named on the carrier’s bill of lading is the party responsible for providing the packed container’s verified gross mass, and that the carrier and terminal operator may rely on a shipper’s signed container weight verification to be accurate.

With these new rules, all regulated parties need to be prepared to implement and obey the container weight verification requirements latest by 1 July, 2016. This period until then should allow to prepare for the required process and documentation changes, as well as to test information transmissions in advance to the effective date. Shippers should now start discussions with their carriers and freight forwarders to set in place logistics and communications to ensure compliance with the new rules and to avoid non-shipment and delays in the supply chain.

"European Transportation 2050"

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- the EU Initiative Developing a Roadmap to European Transport in the next decades

100 years ago, transport of people and freight meant moving humans and objects from point A to point B. Until now, the concept stayed basically the same, as well as the modes of achieving this goal. However, a lot of drawbacks have shown within this century. Greenhouse emissions have grown exceedingly high due to continuous and extending reliance on fossil fuels. Traffic congestions are frequent, road traffic deaths are rising. Each year, this causes enormous costs for taxpayers and governments.

Yet, in this past century, our society has evolved in many areas. So why should our transport system still stick to old ways? Since March 2011, the European Commission with its Directorate General for Mobility and Transport has intensely worked on a completely new initiative to develop a "roadmap to a Single European Transport Area". With it, the European decision makers aim at removing major barriers and bottlenecks in many key areas of transport and freight infrastructure.

The initiative wants to achieve a total transformation of our transport system, while keeping and enhancing the European competitiveness in a global environment. According to the Directorate of Mobility and Transport, the key topics are:

  • Developing and deploying new and sustainable fuels and propulsion systems
  • Reducing Carbon dioxide emissions by 60% until 2050
  • Optimizing the performance of multimodal logistic chains
  • Increasing the efficiency of transport and of transport information systems (including "SESAR" and "Galileo")
  • Phasing out conventionally fuelled cars and trucks from cities by 2050
  • Shifting 30% of medium and long distance road freight to other modes by 2030
  • Using cars for less than half of middle distances by 2050, which should cut in half the road traffic deaths by 2020, and result in almost zero casualties in road transport by 2050

The European Commission understands that such high goals can only be achieved, when transport in Europe is perceived as an international issue.  Therefore, transport has been included in all trade negotiations and in all of the Commission’s respective work in international organizations (ICAO, IMO, OTIF, etc). In these forums it is intended to promote European safety, security, privacy and environmental standards worldwide by building bilateral and multilateral cooperation.
After 100 years of using fossil technology to get us and our products from point A to point B it is about time to transform the transport system into a more efficient and integrated mobility scheme. Will the EU succeed with their "Transport 2050" initiative? The next generation might be able to answer this. Our generation has the responsibility to take first steps into the right direction.

For more information on the European "Transport 2050"- initiative contact our flex2know team.