Swedish road freight companies that abide by work environment legislation, taxation regulations and environmental agreements have had a hard time surviving on a market where illegal transport operators can perform the same services at a much lower cost. A new app being developed at Lund University in Sweden makes the entire chain of transport visible to consumers.
“Many consumers today purchase eco-labelled products because they want to make a difference. However, an eco-labelled product can still be transported illegally and unsustainably and involve poor working conditions for drivers”, says Henrik Sternberg, associate professor in packaging logistics at Lund University in Sweden.
Together with the research institute Viktoria Swedish ICT, Henrik Sternberg has developed an app called “Transparent Transport” that allows you to digitally monitor the journey of a product – from a supplier via a carrier company to the end consumer – and receive reliable information that the transport was carried out in a sustainable way and under good working conditions.
“It has to become clearer which freight companies operate under good working conditions and use legal methods. For transport companies, being able to show end customers and the outside world that they abide by rules and agreements is a matter of survival”, says Henrik Sternberg.
The app is based on blockchain technology, which means that the transported products leave digital tracks at every stop they make on their way to the customer. The information is then collected in a database that is visible to all who are links in the chain, including the customer in the store.
“With this app, carrier companies and those who purchase transportation will receive confirmation that the company uses legal and sustainable methods. This will create an incentive to use the technology and allow consumers to be confident that the products they purchase have been transported in a decent way”, concludes Henrik Sternberg.
Henrik Sternberg, associate professor of packaging logistics, Lund University