Global Trucking Trends: Britain to allow longer semi-trailers

Britain will officially give the green light to longer semi-trailers on May 31, following an 11-year trial project with the configurations.

Measuring 15.65 meters (51 feet), these longer semi-trailers (LST) will see maximum combination lengths of 18.55 meters — 2.05 meters longer than those typically on the road. But they’ll still be subject to existing 44-tonne (97,000-lb.) gross vehicle weights, and fleets will need to establish route plans and conduct related risk assessments.

About 300 fleets already have about 3,000 of such trailers on the road.

Trucks on British highway
(File photo: iStock)

“It’s fantastic to see this change for our supply chain come into law, resulting in a near £1.4-billion ($2.36-billion) boost to the haulage industry and driving economic growth,” said British Roads Minister Richard Holden. “Let the good times roll as we reduce congestion, lower emissions, and enhance the safety of British roads.”

The trial showed that LSTs were involved in 61% fewer personal injury collisions than conventional trucks, the government noted.

The trailers can also carry up to 30 standard U.K. pallets compared to 26.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) welcomed the move but said the government could go further by increasing allowable gross vehicle weights to 48 tonnes (105,822 lb.). “This will be increasingly important when we roll out zero-emission trucks to compensate for the increased weight from batteries,” it said in a press release.

CEVA Logistics electric truck
(Photo: CEVA Logistics)

Immigration and driver shortage

In other global trucking news:

  • The IRU, which identifies itself as the world transport organization, is calling for global cooperation on legal cross-border immigration of workers, citing a “chronic” and “accelerating” driver shortage. One solution to the issue involves enabling legal immigrants, such as refugees who are qualified drivers, to work more easily in the profession, it says.
  • Navistar’s parent company, Traton Group, has joined ABB E-mobility in asking regulators to help expedite plans for megawatt chargers – infrastructure that will play a central role in electrifying Europe’s longhaul trucks.

    “The technology for the transition to sustainable transportation is ready,” Traton CEO Christian Levin said in a panel discussion at the Swedish Embassy in Berlin, noting that battery technology can now last more than 1.5 million km. That’s effectively the lifespan of the trucks themselves. “We now need policymakers to act quickly and give us their widespread support so that we can build a high-performance European charging network at the required speed.”

    The companies made the case for quicker planning and approval processes, as well as harmonized building laws.
  • CEVA Logistics says it will have 1,450 electric vehicles in service by 2025. The commitment includes 1,000 delivery vans, 300 straight trucks, and 150 tractors. The France-headquartered fleet, which has a presence in 170 countries, announced the plans at the 2023 Transport Logistic show in Munich. “Change can be difficult sometimes, but innovating and learning are fun and benefit our planet, while also motivating our teams,” said global ground leader Xavier Bour. “We believe in the future of EVs.”

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