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Fowler Welch trials 15.65m SDC trailer

Spalding, Lincolnshire, UK: Chilled and ambient distribution provider Fowler Welch is to trial an extended length, high-volume, 15.65m trailer.

The tri-axle, rear-steer, curtain-side trailer, the first of its kind in the UK to receive EN12642XL approval, is designed and manufactured by UK trailer builder, SDC.

The new trailers will mean an additional four pallets per load that will offer Fowler Welch’s high-volume customers “significant operational and environmental benefits”.

The first trailer will operate from Fowler Welch’s Heywood distribution centre, for an initial period of ‘rear-steer’ training.  Two further trailers are in build with SDC and will also operate from the Heywood depot.

The 15.65m trailer length is allowed under legislation from the Department for Transport which is granting 900 licenses to UK operators in order to complete a feasibility study into “whether the introduction of longer semi trailers would deliver overall economic, environmental and societal benefits or disbenefits.”

Four extra pallets are possible on this trial 25.65m trailer offer significant operational and environmental benefits for Fowler Welch's high-volume customers

The results, if successful, may lead to the permanent implementation of legislation for longer trailer lengths for high volume operators.

The 15.65m trailer length is an increase of 2.05m from the existing 13.60m, and increases further the overall tractor and trailer length to 18.55m for a three-axle tractor and trailer combination.  The maximum gross weight of 44 tonnes remains.

“An extra four pallets per load has obvious operational advantages,” said Paul Allera, Fowler Welch, national fleet manager, “but, trials are necessary in order to study the real-world effect on fuel economy and rear-steer manoeuvrability.  We are certainly excited at the prospect.”