Long-distance clean transport trial begins in France

The European Clean Transport Network (ECTN) Alliance has launched a low-carbon, long-distance test using alternative energies through “relay stations” along one of France’s major highway networks.

The alliance, made up of CEVA Logistics, utilities company ENGIE and SANEF, a motorway operator, will run the tests over a distance of more than 900 kilometres between Avignon and Lille, with the goal of finding practical solutions to facilitate the decarbonisation of long-distance road freight transport.

The concept would not require specific technological innovations, but rather relies on a network of terminals for low-carbon truck refuelling and trailer exchange.


“By combining the skills and expertise of three major French companies, with the support of our partners and customers, we have brought together all the conditions needed to provide a concrete response to the critical challenge of decarbonising road freight transport in Europe,” said Managing Director of CEVA Logistics Europe, Luc Nadal. “When we see what is happening with the electric car, we can make that possible for heavy goods vehicles, with the support of European public authorities. This experiment is a first step towards a large-scale transformation of our industry, with considerable benefits for the environment.”

The Alliance’s draws inspiration from the traditional “relay” concept by establishing stations equipped with electric chargers and bioCNG refuelling pumps for trucks along the existing highway network. At these relay stations, trailers are disconnected and reconnected to a new tractor unit and driver for the next segment of transport.

Starting initially with four bioGNC trucks operated by F.D.E. Transports, the pilot will gradually expand to include 16 trucks, including 12 electric vehicles and will welcome new transport partners and shippers. Ultimately, the program aims to enable the 16 semi-trailers to traverse the network five days a week—eight traveling northward from the Marseille-Avignon commercial area and eight others to travel southward from Lille.

The ECTN concept is designed to be open to various stakeholders, including trucking companies, truck drivers, shipping customers, energy suppliers, motorway operators, truck manufacturers and public authorities.

In other news, DHL Express has announced the appointment of a new regional CEO for the Americas.

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