45-foot containers may have future in Europe
The 45-foot container, due to be phased out by the end of the year in Europe, may have a future there after all.
The most recent newsletter of the European Sea Ports Association says that European Commissioner for Transport, Jacques Barrot “told members of the European Parliament’s Transport Committee that even though the 45-foot container should be banned from Europe’s roads by the end of 2006, it could be saved.”
A 1996 Council Directive said the big boxes had to be phased out by the end of this year “because it is unsafe for transport by truck.”
But 10 years after the directive, between 150,000 and 200,000 45-foot containers are believed to be in existence, many on intermodal trades carrying light goods such as clothes, toys and furniture.
When two liberal members of parliament, Dirk Sterckx of Belgium and Anne Jensen of Denmark, asked Barrot if it was really necessary to phase out the container, he “indicated that he is trying to find a solution for continued use,” the association reported.
“A solution might follow from the commission’s new approach following its communication on ‘Freight Transport Logistics in Europe — the key to sustainable mobility’, which indicates that rules on the dimensions of vehicles and loading units should match the needs of advanced logistics and sustainable mobility,” the newsletter said.
“In this context the phase-out time might be extended especially as it also remains unclear whether the use of the container actually has a negative effect on road safety.”