In actual fact it’s up to an extra 2 metres that Stobart now has available to them as part of a new trial which is set to cut carbon emissions, boost the economy and reduce congestion on UK roads.
Eddie Stobart has recently completed the first ever delivery in the UK using new ‘Enviro-Trailers’, which are between 1-2m longer than the current, maximum legal length of HGV: 13.6m. This was possible thanks to a Very Special Order, handed out by the Department for Transport, as part of their 10 year plan to trial new trailers in an attempt to make improvements to the UK’s haulage and logistics operations.
What Can They Do With It?
This increase in the size of trailer from the previous maximum means the haulier can increase their load by a whopping 20%. Which, using some basic maths skills, means that for every 5 larger trailers they use, 1 less truck will have to make the same journey. That’s one less days’ worth of fuel, one less truck clogging up the roads and one less huge dangerous vehicle trundling along our streets.
To help the drivers manage the extra length, these trailers come with two steering rear axles, which in turn helps minimise any extra pressure these vehicles put on our road surfaces. Plus, the trailers are designed so that they stay under the maximum permitted weight and can still complete the widest allowable turning circle.
There are a couple of negatives however; for one this would mean that less drivers are employed for less days as less drivers would be able to take more stock, but then the drivers of the larger vehicles would likely get paid more so it might just even out.
Another negative is the fact that this may be a step in the wrong direction for the government’s logistics strategy. Why use bigger trucks when trains are safer, greener and faster? Also, the bigger trucks might not lead to a reduction in the number of trucks on the road. It may just instigate a bit of an arms race as hauliers rush to get bigger and bigger trucks to offer cheaper options to clients.
Despite the apparent negatives, it is just a trial and something that Stobart cannot be blamed for exploiting. There are a great many advantages to the new larger trailers so let’s wait and see what the results of this trial show before passing judgement.
What do you think?
Ferdinand Hurst works on improving supply chain collaboration in the UK. He believes supply chain software is the key to improved efficiencies ahead of larger vehicles.