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    117.340
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  • ITVI.USA
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    117.340
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  • OTLT.USA
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  • OTRI.USA
    22.220
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  • OTVI.USA
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  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
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  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
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  • WAIT.USA
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    0.000
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American Shipper

U.K. government red light to “superlorries”

U.K. government red light to “superlorries”

U.K. government red light to “superlorries”

The United Kingdom’s Freight Transport Association has described Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly’s rejection of proposals to allow bigger trucks onto British roads as a missed opportunity to reduce carbon emissions in the road freight sector.

   The 44-ton truck weight limit within the European Union is under review by the European Commission as part of its Logistics Action Plan designed to improve the efficiency of transport and logistics in the region by 2010. A number of countries within the EU and elsewhere are testing longer and heavier vehicles (LHVs), although two U.K. hauliers were refused permission for similar trials in 2005.

   The standard heavy goods vehicle (HGV) in use in the United Kingdom is a 16.5 meter long articulated vehicle. Other allowed vehicles with greater volume and/or deck area include the 18.75-meter-long drawbar combination — rigid HGVs towing single drawbar trailers — and taller, double-decked versions of the standard articulated vehicle.

   A report commissioned by the Department for Transport from the Transport Research Laboratory, found that permitting the temporary or permanent use of “super-lorries” — vehicles 25.25 meter or more in length — could increase CO2 emissions due to goods shifting from rail to the road. Also, the report said major infrastructure investment would be needed for trucks of up to 34 meters and 82 tons to safely operate on the country’s road network.

   “This study shows that super-lorries are not compatible with British roads. Not only are there clear environmental drawbacks, but such vehicles would be unsuitable for many roads and junctions,” Kelly said.

   However, she said the DfT would consider permitting a modest increase in the length of current articulated vehicles, something the report said could provide a few worthwhile benefits.

   The FTA, who’s road haulier members control almost half of the U.K. fleet with more than 200,000 vehicles, believes utilizing longer and heavier trucks would enable fewer vehicles to carry more goods, and so reduce the road transport industry’s environmental impact and costs.

   “If CO2 savings are the single most important factor in the Secretary of State's decision, then she has just kicked into touch the most effective means of achieving double-digit carbon savings in the road freight sector,” said FTA Director of Policy James Hookham.

   “The report has rightly identified enormous complexities, including the risk of a shift in freight movements from road to rail. However, all she had to do was to talk to the logistics industry in order to sort out how any downside could be prevented and how to take maximum advantage of the major benefits in prospect. This decision will set a difficult tone regarding how carbon savings can be achieved in the road freight sector in the future.”

   The full report can viewed in full at www.trl.co.uk.

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