Third-party logistics (3PL) provider CEVA Logistics, energy transition business Engie and motorway operator company Société des Autoroutes du Nord et de l’Est de la France (SANEF) have partnered to launch the European Clean Transport Network (ECTN) Alliance, to decarbonize road freight transport.
The ECTN Alliance envisions building and operating 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 refueling trucks. Serving European motorways, the network will include a specific IT solution to enable transportation companies to plan their routes and charging schedules in a faster and more carbon-efficient way.
In addition, the concept aims to improve working conditions for long-haul truck drivers by enabling them to remain closer to their homes, as they will swap trailers at each terminal before turning back. The solution is therefore expected to make the trucking industry more attractive and help alleviate the European truck driver crisis.
The alliance will conduct a two-year proof of concept (POC) in 2023 between the Lille and Avignon metropolitan areas in France to demonstrate the feasibility of the concept before deploying it on a European scale. The POC will demonstrate the ECTN model’s effects on long-distance road haulage. A 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 POC is expected to provide a database to support an in-depth understanding of low-carbon truck usage for long-distance haulage and options for decarbonizing road freight transport in Europe.
Luc Nadal, regional managing director for Europe at 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 decarbonizing 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.”
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