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Robert.Jervis_43227 Nov 09

Logistics UK welcomes 48 tonne multimodal freight trial

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“The trial will allow six-axle articulated lorries to run at 48 tonnes by specific operators”
In response to the Department for Transport’s (DfT) proposal of a limited 48 tonne multimodal freight trial, Phil Lloyd, Head of Engineering Policy at Logistics UK, comments:

“Logistics UK welcomes the trial and supports the idea that the ability to operate at 48 tonnes for domestic multimodal journeys will improve efficiency within the supply chain and support the use of rail freight.

“While the consultation is ongoing until January 2021, it is proposed that the trial will allow six-axle articulated lorries to run at 48 tonnes by specific operators and will comply with existing constrains of the current road infrastructure, such as bridge capacity. As a result, some current routes may not be permissible.  

“Those taking part in the trial will also be required to comply with other existing rules, such as maximum axle weights, and it is likely that they will be limited to a maximum journey length; currently proposed to be 50 miles. Operators are also required to be part of domestic multimodal – road and rail – operations. 

“Currently the maximum laden weight for a six-axle articulated lorry on the roads of Great Britain is 44 tonnes. Allowing a 48-tonne operation would therefore enable a reduction in the number of journeys required to service each train, resulting in reduced road congestion and lower emissions.”

More details can be found on the UK Government website https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/heavier-intermodal-freight-trial

Separately, the Department for Transport (DfT) has also launched a consultation into whether longer semi-trailers (LSTs) should be allowed to permanently operate on UK roads after trials showed their use had reduced haulage miles, emissions and accidents.

LSTs are longer and lighter than conventional heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and carry three more rows of supermarket goods cages on each journey compared with existing trailers.

Trials of LSTs, which have been underway in the UK since 2012, have shown that they’ve saved lorry drivers travelling millions of miles. In the last year, the 2,600 vehicles involved in the trial saved lorry drivers 33.5m miles and 48,000 tonnes of CO2, equivalent to taking over 20,000 cars off the road.

The results also showed LSTs were involved in fewer personal injury collisions compared with standard size HGVs.

Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, said:

“Our freight industry keeps the country moving, delivering vital goods and services every single day – which, as we all know, has never been more important than it is now, during the pandemic.

“These trials clearly show the benefits for business and the environment of using longer trailers. By determining the next steps to get them on our roads permanently, we can benefit industry and our economy, boost safety and cut emissions.”