Greetings to all HVTT Newsletter subscribers from Europe,
After beautiful autumn, which almost felt like pre-covid period the winter season is slowly approaching us, and we feel the changes happening literally with every new week. Having less sun, more precipitations (somewhere with snow), and dropping temperatures appears to be favourable weather for the pandemic as the numbers are continuously rising in Europe on the global level. Sadly, it appears we are standing in front on ‘new’ Covid season with restrictions and lockdowns to come despite fairly high vaccination rate.
In this newsletter I would like to share with you recent developments on:
- Enabling EMS vehicles for cross-border transport between Netherlands and Germany
- Deployment of Longer Semitrailers in United Kingdom
- The continuation of Pilot on Super Eco Combi (A-Double) in the Netherlands
Cross-border transport with EMS vehicles between Netherlands and Germany
On September bilateral agreement was signed between Dutch and German ministries for transport which enables the cross-border operation of EMS vehicle combinations (up to 25.25 meters in length). Similar agreement already exists between Netherlands and Belgium and opening the borders with Germany represents big step forward towards further deployment of these more efficient vehicle combinations. Germany represents not only significant export partner for Netherlands but also a link to Denmark and Czechia where the EMS vehicle combinations are already allowed for the operation. However, harmonization remains a major challenge for the future. Whereas the Netherlands has a maximum weight for EMS of 60 tons, in Germany the limit is only 40 tons (44 tons of intermodal transport). In the future this will remain as is, and both countries have decided to maintain the current regulations. This means that a Dutch EMS in Germany must meet the German conditions. A German test certificate must therefore be present, and the driver must have followed the German EMS driving course. Also, the German EMS weights and axle loads may not be exceeded. Conversely, a German EMS in the Netherlands must meet the Dutch requirements. The bilateral agreement is valid for a period of 3 years, and it foreseen to be renewed afterwards.
Longer Semitrailers in United Kingdom
After successful trials and consultations, longer semitrailers (LST) up to 15.65 meters in length were approved by the UK government for the deployment outside trial conditions. These semitrailers are about 2 meters longer than standard European semitrailers and offer additional 15% of transport volume. The expected impact is 8% reduction in fright kilometres, and 6.2% reduction in emissions, despite the fact the maximum for gross vehicle weight has not been increased. The semitrailer prolongation will allow to accommodate additional 4 UK pallets (1200x1000mm) which can be even doubled in case of rather popular double-decker’s in UK. Based on the trials new LST appears to be conform with existing regulations for the low-speed manoeuvrability even though the extra length may represent the challenge while operating these vehicles in limited space of yards and distribution centres. Roll out of LST in UK is expected during next year.
Dutch Pilot on A-Double
Furthermore, I am bringing the latest developments on the A-double (tractor with two 13.6 meters semitrailers connected by a dolly) pilot here in Netherlands, which I shared with you in the previous newsletters. Prior to a possible first test on public roads, the vehicle combination has undergone an extensive test investigation done by the Dutch vehicle regulator (RDW) at dedicated test track. Moreover, Institute for Road Safety Research has also conducted broad research. According to the RDW, the results of both studies are insufficient to grant an exemption for a test on the requested route (Venlo – Rotterdam) for the tested A-double configuration (with rigid axles). The vehicle regulator concluded that the risks to road safety with this configuration are considerable on the underlying road network. In addition to technical improvements that need to be re-tested, additional research is needed on the visibility of other traffic. This may result in vehicle modifications enhancing the manoeuvrability and improving the visibility.
As the Christmas season is getting closer, I would like to wish all successful and healthy finalization of this year.
Best regards and take care,
Vice President – Europe
International Forum for Heavy Vehicle Transport & Technology