Longer semi-trailer trial extension welcomed by road transport industry

George Barrow
February 2, 2017


Trailer manufacturers and trade associations have welcomed the decision to extend the longer semi-trailer trial in scope and length.

Last week the DfT said an additional 1,000 longer semi-trailers are to be made available and the trial extended by five years.

The department added that details on how to apply for the trailer allocations would be available soon. Changes to the reporting structure are also expected to be announced.

Launched in 2012, the trial has, after a slow start, increased to encompass 1,800 longer semi-trailers at the 14.6m and 15.65m maximum length – the latter of which has proved the most popular among operators.

FTA head of engineering Andy Mair said: “The FTA fully supports any increase in the number of trailers under trial. These types of initiatives play an important part in the logistics industry’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

“Through this trial, industry and government are working to understand the benefits – in terms of reduced mileage and emissions – of larger vehicles, while keeping a close eye on safety.”

RHA director of policy Jack Semple said: “The permit allocation will give equal opportunity to small firms. It is the right measure, in the right way for the right reasons. The trial boosts productivity and safety, and reduces emissions.”

SDC Trailers commercial director Paul Bratton agreed. “The trial has been a huge success, and while the trailers don’t suit every operation, it has brought enquiries and requests for more licences as hauliers see the benefits and flexibility these trailers offer,” he said.

Don-Bur marketing manager Richard Owens (a longer semi-trailer supplied to Ceva pictured) said: “Many operators will be delighted with the possibilities afforded by an increase in the number of permissible longer semi-trailers. Particularly where operators are not limited by weight, longer semi-trailers, with a maximum capacity of 60 UK pallets, are the most cost-efficient method of trunking goods.”

Commercialmotor.com understands the allocation cap on the number of longer trailers for any one company is likely to be maintained, meaning an allocation of up to 20% of fleet size, or 180 trailers, is the limit for operators.

About the Author


George Barrow

George Barrow has been writing about nearly anything with wheels for the past 15 years, starting off his career in the car industry and ending up in commercial vehicles via a brief detour to cover technology, science and start-ups. Often found behind the wheel of a new product, his real interest lies in the business side of the automotive industry. George is the UK jury member of the International Van of the Year and International Pick-Up Award.

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