Trail blazers

SME designs trailer to take one in four trucks off the roads globally, reducing carbon emissions by 400 tonnes per truck per year. Working with UKTI Yorkshire, the company are now looking to expand their business into Europe.

SME designs trailer to take one in four trucks off the roads globally, reducing carbon emissions by 400 tonnes per truck per year. Working with UKTI Yorkshire, the company are now looking to expand their business into Europe.

SOMI Trailers (Same Outside More Inside) is an innovative design that utilises the space between the truck and the trailer axles to carry an extra 31%. New to the market and currently undergoing trials this product benefits hauliers, logistics, manufacturers and retailers and the public, saving costs, reducing emissions and increasing productivity. Future success for SOMI Trailers will be very highly dependent on export sales, explains Managing Director Pauline Dawes, who came up with the principle in 2003.

The SOMI team in Scunthorpe have worked hard to make Pauline’s initial idea into a reality and now have 19 granted patents and another 20 in the pipeline. Inventing the system that would make the idea work – an autonomous air-lift system carrying 8 tonnes of cargo on a raised deck – has taken some time, but in this time with the help of the UKTI, Pauline has been able to identify distinct markets and customers across the world.

“It has been very inspiring to work with SOMI Trailers. Pauline and her small team have invested a lot of money and devoted time and effort in developing the original idea and transforming it into a viable product.” Irene Escudier, International Trade Advisor, UKTI Yorkshire and Humber.

This is certainly a company to watch, especially with the current global emphasis on moving to a low carbon economy and reducing carbon emissions. Cutting costs and increasing efficiency are just the tip of the iceberg as SOMI Trailers has the potential to transform the face of logistics across the globe, by taking 1 million trucks off the road in the US and 400,000 off the roads in Europe.

In the United States, Pauline explained, there is a major shortage of truck drivers – up to 30,000 drivers this year, an aging workforce and very long distances to travel by road. So in this market, the SOMI Trailer reduces costs and reduces the demand for so many drivers. The 4m height requirement in the US prohibits increasing truck capacity by expanding upwards, so the innovative SOMI solution of using the central space between the wheels works well. 90% of freight journeys run out of space before meeting their maximum payload.

In China, the situation is slightly different as it is the availability of oil that challenges logistics combined with a rapidly growing home market for goods. By increasing their capacity and productivity SOMI Trailers will reduce the requirement for oil. In Europe it is generally the cost of oil and reducing CO2 emissions which are the primary challenges. Reducing CO2 emissions is something that all businesses are conscious of now however, and the potential to save around £100,000 and 400 tonnes of CO2 a year just by enabling one truck to be taken off the road is a real motivating factor for businesses. Pauline’s plans to focus on these key markets were confirmed when she attended UKTI event “Explore Export” in July 2011.

On making the most of the opportunity to speak to UKTI Officers from around the world Pauline says, “It really matters for a small company to hear from a professional in the country; it saves valuable time and money”.

Company: SOMI Trailers

Industry: Transport & Logistics

Website: www.somitrailers.co.uk

The event confirmed Pauline’s plans to visit Ireland, Netherlands, France and Spain with the trailer, followed by USA and China.

“Explore Export was extremely helpful because without the opportunity to speak to all the officers from different countries, you could easily have assumed all of Europe was the same for this product”, Pauline Dawes, Managing Director SOMI Trailers Ltd.

Cenex’s (UK Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon and Fuel Cell Technologies) annual Low Carbon Vehicle Event, supported by UKTI, the Automotive Council and the Technology Strategy Board took place in September 2011 at the Rockingham Race Circuit. For SOMI Trailers, it proved an invaluable opportunity to showcase the SOMI Trailer amongst a wealth of new low-carbon vehicle technology and meet those in the motor industry who are investing in new low carbon vehicles and technologies. As a direct result of attending this event, SOMI Trailers is currently undergoing trials with two leading supermarket chains in the UK and Europe, each trialling one of the innovative, low carbon SOMI Trailers.

Pauline is also continuing to work with UKTI this year to gain more in-depth insight into standards in different countries and the availability of products, and is taking advantage of any opportunity that comes along to showcase the SOMI Trailer. On a forthcoming trial to Gibraltar with a leading supermarket Pauline is working with UKTI to arrange events in partnership with the British Embassies in countries on the route back through Europe to the UK. In Spain for example, UKTI are supporting Pauline in identifying key people to invite to an event to be held at the Embassy. Being able to use Embassy contacts, premises and branding for such events, Pauline explains, will “give credibility to what is after all, disruptive technology, they help enormously and be can be hugely influencing. I have used them for trade visits and OMIS reports, which are excellent value for money.”

Contacts

If you are based in the Yorkshire and Humber region and are interested in developing your business overseas please contact:

UKTI Yorkshire

Tel: 0300 365 1000

Email info@uktiyorkshire.co.uk

If you are based in one of the other UK Regions find your nearest International Trade Advisor via our postcode search facility in Contacts in your region.

Sectors: Automotive and Ports & Logistics
Countries: Europe and Yorkshire and Humberside
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