Optimisation of international freight logistics

Project overview

Zipabout is part of a P&O-led consortium of cargo owners (Nestlé, Kraft Heinz,Unipart), ferry companies (Stena Line), rail operators (GB Rail Freight, DBCargo UK), and the Universities of Hull and Lancaster looking into the optimisation of freight transport in the north of England.

The three-year project aims to identify the most efficient route for cargo travelling through UK ports, in particular the Mersey-Humber axis, and unlock practical barriers that currently force northern cargo owners to ship freight on long distance road routes to and from the southern ports.

The Zipabout data platform examines flows through the northern ports, relevant rail networks, and road, canal and maritime routes. Based on the platform analysis, a simulator, open to any participant in the transport sector and its supply chain, will be developed to identify optimum freight routes and cargo-pooling opportunities.


By increasing the efficiency of freight transport in the north of England, land transportation of freight from north to south (currently 100 million miles pa) can be reduced, congestion on the road network eased and bottlenecks at ports in  the  south  managed. Further  social  and  environmental  effects  would also be  felt  through  significantly  reducing congestion in the south east, and easing pressure on major north-south motorways.