A new alliance has been launched in a bid to fight climate change and decarbonise European road freight transport.
Three major groups are joining forces to launch the European Clean Transport Network Alliance (ECTN Alliance), which the groups claim will deliver a concrete solution to decarbonise road freight transport.
Mobilising the expertise of its founding members—CEVA Logistics, ENGIE and SANEF—the ECTN Alliance wants to build and operate a network of truck terminals with low-carbon energy solutions to transport merchandise along Europe’s motorways. The disruptive system will be tailored to electric trucks’ limited range and charging requirements.
Long term, the terminal network will be open to all shippers and carriers, offering simple access to low-carbon biogas, hydrogen and electric energy solutions for charging and refuelling trucks.
Strategically placed on European motorways, the network will include a specific IT solution to enable transport companies to plan their routes and charging schedules in the fastest and most carbon-efficient way.
In addition, the concept aims at improving working conditions for long-haul truck drivers by allowing them to remain closer to their homes, as they will be swapping trailers at each terminal before turning back. ECTN’s solution will ultimately make the trucking industry more attractive and help alleviate the European truck driver crisis, the Alliance believes.
The Alliance will conduct trials this year between the Lille and Avignon metropolitan areas in France to demonstrate the feasibility of the concept before deploying it on a European scale.
A further trials with a dedicated fleet of 20 low-carbon tractor units (a mix of biogas, electric and green hydrogen) will transport 20 trailers each day between the north and southeast of France, relaying and changing trailers at five test sites located at existing CEVA Logistics locations.
Local carriers will carry out the pre- and post-carriage transport to and from the test sites. The trials are expected to provide a rich database for an in-depth understanding of low-carbon truck use for long-distance haulage and options for decarbonising road freight transport in Europe.
Luc Nadal, Regional Managing Director for Europe, CEVA Logistics, said: “ECTN Alliance members strongly believe that private–public alliances have a key role to play in accelerating climate solutions. The ECTN Alliance is based on a pioneering, holistic approach to decarbonising long-haul trucking. We are proud to launch this bold initiative with best-in-class companies, whose combined expertise will contribute to the success of the project.”