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GiroZero launched the International Capacity Building Program between Colombia and the United Kingdom


21 Nov 2022

Our purpose is to continue building and learning with different international organizations to move towards zero emissions in road freight transportation. This time we launched the first International Capacity building Program between Colombia and United Kingdom.

Since 2020, the Giro Zero project led by the Universidad de los Andes, financed by the UK Pact Colombia program, in international collaboration with Cardiff University, has been working to accelerate the decarbonization the Colombian road freight transport sector. Through applied research on feasibility of the adoption of technological innovations in road freight transport, the project is raising awareness across the sector on how to improve the efficiency of vehicles, the replacement of the old fleet with low or zero emission vehicles and collective work among various organizations to achieve greater and better results in the transition to zero emissions.

In the beginning of October, the first GiroZero International Capacity Building Program was carried out in London and Cardiff. Giro Zero beneficiaries, organizations, and industry representatives from Colombia participated and discussed with experts from Cardiff University and Universidad de los Andes, and delegates from UK government and industry.

The Colombian visitors included Nidia Hernández - Executive President of Colfecar, Karol García - Union Director of Fenalco, Laura Franco - Sustainability Leader of Renting Colombia, Julián Duque - Maintenance Manager of TDM, Ximena Cantor Zero - Low Emissions Group Coordinator of the transport sector, in the Directorate of Infrastructure and Sustainable Energy of the National Planning Department (DNP). Edgar Higuera Gómez - Director of the Chamber of Logistics, Infrastructure and Transport of ANDI (National Business Association of Colombia), participated virtually.

The week programme included a RoundTable discussion with UK government and industry representatives and their Colombian counterparts mentioned above, a meeting UK PACT managing team in the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), company visits to OCADO and Sainsbury's, and a training day that showcased elements of the capacity building programme being developed by Giro Zero. The week concluded with a workshop on road freight transport decarbonisation hosted by Cardiff University.

As Professor Vasco Sanchez Rodrigues highlighted “the visit was a great success, through the collective effort of the Giro Zero team, we exceeded expectations of policy makers and industry representatives that visited us from Colombia. They had the opportunity to engage with and exchange expert views with their counterparts, visit Ocado and Sainsbury’s, two leading grocery retailers, taste at first hand the training Giro Zero can run for the Colombian road freight transport sector, and give their active contributions to a workshop that wrapped this fantastic week”.

With regards to the training day, we had a full day of very relevant content for Colombian government and industry, with contribution from Professors Emrah Demir and Vasco Sanchez Rodrigues from Cardiff University, who shared information on how to adopt innovations to make logistics more carbon efficient. Dr Wessam Abouarghoub from Cardiff University and Professor Dr Gordon Wilmsmeier from Universidad de los Andes presented their work on the Giro Zero Environmental Road Freight Index (ERFTI) to enable road freight transport and logistics companies to benchmark themselves within their sectors and focused their presentation on how to improve environmental performance of road freight. Additionally, Andres Rey delivered a presentation on the commitments associated with decarbonization that the UK Department for Transport has made to meet the country’s goal of turning road freight to NetZero by 2050. The training day was wrapped up with a joint presentation from Dr Cristiam Gil and Andres Rey on the KPI Dashboard and Scenario Simulator, which form part of the GiroZero Toolbox, which is being developed for the use of Colombian government and industry.

Dr Wessam Abouarghoub, a Principal Expert of Giro Zero, who led the training day, said, "the training was an opportunity to engage with our partners and stakeholders in a discussion of the best practices to accelerate road freight decarbonisation. Moreover, stimulate a debate on the challenges for the Colombian road freight transport sector and propose solutions. The day was very productive, and we concluded that a data-driven approach, combined with knowledge exchange, is the way forward to support decision-making for different stakeholders, helping them meet their green-set goals and objectives”.

Andres Rey, Research Associate of Giro Zero remarked about the policy training session “Making policy for decarbonizing freight transportation is quite challenging because it has to be done for the long term, but it must be addressed right now, and with a high degree of consensuses between carriers, shippers and consumers, thus learning who the policy is made in UK, give some insights on how the policies and the process of making policy can improve in Colombia".

Moreover, Dr Cristiam Gil and Andres Rey, Research Associate of Giro Zero, added their joint views on this successful training day, "Our attendees also learn about the tools developed by the Giro Zero team namely KPI Dashboard and Scenario Simulator. The KPI Dashboard shows economic and environmental indicators from a database from the Ministry of Transportation, and they learned about the powerful of analysing this data due to the fact that UK does not have a similar database and have a special term for this problem called “freight blindness” In the case of Scenario Simulator." The visit ended with a workshop on road freight transport decarbonisation that included keynote presentations from Michael Campbell and Micaela from Ricardo plc, Jonathan Moody from Welsh Government, and Graham MacGruer and Rob Evans, and panel discussions where these keynote presenters and Professor Andrew Potter from Cardiff University exchanged ideas with our visitors from Colombia based on the realities and experiences on the early decarbonisation roadmap both countries are embarking upon. This well-attended workshop included 40 presential delegates from the UK and 50 virtual delegates from Colombia.

Professor Emrah Demir, Principal Expert of Giro Zero, who is led the successful workshop, said “The Giro Zero hybrid workshop brought policy makers, industry experts and academics to share experience and discuss the next steps for achieving road freight decarbonization. Showcasing the current achievement of Giro-Zero project, the workshop has successfully increased the understanding and knowledge on road freight decarbonisation.”.

The visit reached three milestones. Firstly, expert knowledge was transferred on road freight decarbonisation to the beneficiaries and strategic partners of the project. Secondly, the project team raised awareness about GiroZero’s products and tools. Thirdly, GiroZero consolidated the relationships with representatives from Colombian government and industry and open the door GiroZero Network to UK experts from the logistics sector and government.

As Professor Gordon Wilmsmeier, project leader of Giro Zero, stated, the visit to the United Kingdom with our beneficiaries broadened the understanding of the efforts of public and private actors in the transition to low carbon future. The stimulating discussions and knowledge exchange among delegates from the UK and Colombia improved understanding on the visions and paths of action towards zero emissions. It was especially interesting to see how the visit helped to reflect on the progress and the state of the sector in Colombia, to recognize that there are bright ideas and initiatives in the country that should be converted into actions”.

This successful UK visit has been the result of a joint effort among colleagues from Cardiff Business School and Universidad de los Andes – Colombia. Giro Zero would like to give special thanks to the organising committee of the visit - Emrah Demir, Wessam Abouarghoub, Andrés Rey, Cristiam Gil, Alejandra Laverde, Ana Lucía Ricaurte, Luisa Spaggiari, Camila Faride Cubillos, Helen Whitfield, Angharad Kearse and Vasco Sanchez Rodrigues.