UK trailer height allowance threat

Tunbridge Wells, UK: Major players in logistics, parcels, retail and bakery transport sectors fear that European Commission proposals to limit the height of UK trailers could substantially undermine the efficiency of transport operations.

The Freight Transport Association has collected evidence from operators to support its call to protect the current systems that gives UK operators the right to operate trailers above four metres.

Andy Mair, FTA’s Head of Engineering Policy, said: “All the evidence points to the fact that many significant operators in the UK use trailers that would be outlawed if EC proposals went ahead; the cost-saving and CO2 benefits of higher trailers would be lost too.”

The EC’s proposal on masses and dimensions for type approval, which ensures that manufacturers of vehicles comply with certain safety and environmental standards, threatens to remove the existing derogation which allows vehicle and trailers in the UK to be set at over 4-metres. The association said that following intensive lobbying, it was encouraged when the EC announced it would consider lifting the height limit to 4.88m for double-deck trailers. However, this does not go far enough said Mair.

“The truth is that there is a substantial chunk of our logistics sector that operate trailers over 4.88 metres. Ideally, we would like the height limit for all trailers, not just double-deck, to be set to at least 4.95m, Mair said.

The association has sent its findings to the Department for Transport.

Evidence from the association’s survey shows that:

  • Some cages used on double deck trailers brought the overall height to over 4.88m.
  • A lower height would mean that ‘double-stacking’ would not be possible
  • Also, some products moved in stillages (caged pallets) are stacked with no room to spare height wise and even a small reduction in height would result in the loss of one stillage per stack less.
  • Bakeries had specific issues where the factory automated stacking systems stack to a height that fits with a 4.95m double deck trailer with no headroom to spare. Any reduction in height would mean the loss of the top stack, which would have to be manually un-stacked before loading.

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