Thursday, February 15, 2018

Scania At The Sweden-South East Asia Business Summit 2018 - A Sustainable Transportation Mindset is a Key Driver for Future Growth.

The Sweden-Southeast Asia Business Summit (SSEABS) was recently held in Kuala Lumpur on the 6th and 7th of February 2018. It was jointly hosted by various Swedish parties based in Malaysia ranging from the Embassy of Sweden, Business Swede and the Malaysian Swedish Business Association (MASBA). There was participation from Swedish companies from various industries, ranging from service, retail and manufacturing that are present in Southeast Asia. We attended the summit on the second day as we were invited by Scania as well as the two other Swedish automakers, Volvo Group and Volvo Car.

As one of the main sponsors of the summit, Scania  shared how they are leading the shift towards sustainable transportation where sustainable, automatised and digitalised solutions can enhance lives of society and improve profitability for their customers. Scania also led two Industry Talk sessions in Day Two under the theme of “A Sustainable Mindset – Key Driver for Future Growth". The topics discussed "Future City Transport Solutions" in the morning session and "Circular Economy – Waste to Wealth" in the afternoon.

Erik Ljungberg, Senior Vice President and Head of Corporate Relations, Scania group was a panel speaker in a discussion on “Creating a Sustainability Mindset.”. For the topics of “Future City Transport Solutions” and “Circular Economy – Waste to Wealth” was graced with guest speakers Alexander Mastrovito, Head of Sustainable Transport Solutions, Scania Asia & Oceania and David Lantz, Sustainability Manager, Scania Southeast Asia.

The first, is about sustainable transport solutions where autonomous trucks seems to be the way to go and the second, on Scania's push into alternative uses for waste. 

For the first talk, “The future of transport will be increasingly sustainable, automatised and digitalised and we are investing heavily in these areas. But no one knows exactly what the future will look like. Business models will change and value will be created in a different way than today,” said Mr. Ljungberg. 

He added, “The transportation industry is undergoing rapid changes right now. We are approaching a tipping point where the convergence of technology and business models will accelerate the change and where the demand of sustainable transport solutions will take off and become the new normal.”

According to the panel of speakers, which included Scania, Saab Ericsson, Sandvik, there is no single solution to making intra-city or inter-city transport sustainable. The players in the industry cannot focus on a single technology (from autonomous transport, networking, connectivity) or a single type of fuel that would be used - some may still prefer traditional diesel trucks, some hybrids, some fully EV. What the stakeholders, or players need to accomplish is to make the transport value chain more efficient. It is about teamwork and total agreement on what systems to use and how to go about it.

Here, Scania believes that it should focus on three areas in order to capture the benefits of a more total or holistic approach to transport solutions. These are Energy efficiency, Alternative fuels & Electrification as well as Smart and safe transport.  In order to deliver a sustainable transport system all three must be combined. There has to be integration of all factors - which connectivity would play a part - from the communication networks so that the vehicles can talk to one another on secure channels to improvements in autonomous vehicles.

According to what I have learnt, the future of transport will be driven by coalitions of organisations, cities and nations that will show the way and to take out the risk for our customers. There will be telecommunications companies doing the network integration between vehicles, network security companies that will make  networks secure to use, vehicles with the technology to be self driving as well as be able to talk to one another and observe the surrounding roads. These are a few and more. 

It is all about connectivity between everything if you want to make things simple. So many things would still need to be ironed out but the road seems to head towards artificial intelligence every way you turn by the looks of it. Even things like insurance would need to be worked out in detail before the next step of transport (i.e autonomous vehicles on normal roads and not in closed areas like mining, tunneling or at ports) is carried out fully.

Scania believes that widening the scope of what needs to be done as well as the start-up joint co-operations with all involved parties from the transport buyers, the transporters, us and the fuel and infrastructure suppliers. It is all about increasing productivity and profitability but in a sustainable way. 

As for the second topic, Scania has the broadest range of alternative fuel and technology solutions; from natural gas, HVO, bioethanol, biogas, biodiesel to hybrid drivetrains, platooning and autonomous vehicle technology. This is one of the reasons they are pushing for using waste collected by the city councils can actually be used to produce fuel which will be used by the garbage collection trucks which collects the garbage in the first place. This is a very sustainable cycle or circle if such a thing happens.

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