Use longer semi-trailers in 2013 or lose them, warns DfT

The Department for Transport (DfT) has warned operators taking part in the longer semi-trailer trial that they have less than 12 months to take up their allocation of licences.

The ‘use it or lose it’ message was issued after the DfT produced figures showing that just over one-fifth of the 1,811 longer semi-trailer licences issued by the department a year ago are being used.

The figures show that two-thirds of participating operators have yet to take up any of their allocated licences, while five companies have withdrawn from the trial.

The longer semi-trailer trial, launched in December 2011, allows operators to run 14.6m and 15.65m semi-trailers on UK roads.  Applications from 180 CV operators, from major logistics providers to small hauliers, were approved at the time (CM 15 December 2011). Norbert Dentressangle was allocated the most, with 131.

The DfT has confirmed that by mid-December 2012, 80 of the shorter and 320 of the longer semi-trailers were on the road or under construction.

A DfT spokeswoman said: “Vehicle special orders have been issued for more than 400 trailers. We are pleased with how the trial is progressing. So far, five companies have withdrawn and their allocation has been reallocated to other operators, including three that have joined the trial for the first time.”

Last month, the DfT wrote to trial participants reminding them that they have until December 2013 to take up their allocation or apply to exchange all or part of their allocation with another operator who wants it. “This has led to at least two exchanges and others may follow,” the spokeswoman said.

¦ Look out for CM’s investigation into the longer semi-trailer trial later this month.