The Coronavirus pandemic has significantly reduced the number of train travellers. Despite positive signs of recovery, the medium to long term impact on rail remains unclear. So how can the spare capacity on trains be used effectively to meet the increased transportation demands of e-commerce?
We are delighted to announce that SilverRail has been granted funding from Vinnova, the Swedish Innovation Agency, to run a pilot to build the digital infrastructure to move both passengers and goods. Innovative solutions like this are needed to meet immediate and longer-term needs that have emerged from the Coronavirus pandemic and climate crisis.
SilverRail is one of several companies to receive grants from Vinnova, who are funding twelve projects that will help society and business in the wake of Covid-19.
Coronavirus has massively impacted train company revenue
The global lockdown has caused a dramatic reduction in the number of people travelling on trains. Even if rail continues to recover slowly, social distancing measures adopted by rail operators mean that capacity will persist for several months and even years. Without finding other ways to monetise spare capacity, train operators will continue to suffer financially.
Rail freight is not set up to handle the demands of e-commerce
Coronavirus has significantly increased the volume of e-commerce orders that require transport. Unfortunately, most packages are moved using gas-guzzling trucks which negatively impact the environment. Although trains emit far less carbon than trucks, rail freight lacks the flexibility and on-demand booking that e-retailers need. Rail freight is also normally reserved for large organisations and cannot be booked on-demand.
Flexible, on-demand rail freight offers train operators a new revenue stream
With Vinnova’s grant, SilverRail is building a new solution that enables goods to be easily transported on trains, allowing rail operators to offset the reduction in passenger numbers by monetising their spare capacity. The solution will allow train companies to sell carriage space to other companies, especially last-mile logistics firms, to fill gaps in demand. The pilot will take place in Sweden, in collaboration with Snälltåget, a train operator, and Airmee, a logistics company.
“Combining passengers and freight traffic is not new. However, it has not been done on trains in modern times. We believe the time is now and expect to have a solution ready for the Christmas shopping season, which will provide Sweden and other countries with a climate-neutral and scalable rail freight option” says Maria Perman, Business Development at SilverRail Technologies.
Maria Perman, Business Development, SilverRail Technologies AB
Tel: + 46 70 5877 596
SilverRail Technologies develops and supplies software for inventory, sales and distribution of tickets for ground transport, focusing on trains and buses. Each year, over one billion travel searches and 30 million bookings are handled using SilverRail’s applications and solutions. SilverRail has offices in London, Stockholm, Brisbane and Boston.