Acumen Distribution has taken advantage of the DfT’s new permit availability to expand its fleet of Longer Semi-Trailers (LSTs). The company has grown its fleet of LST’s from an initial four trailers to 18 making it one of largest users in the country.
The company obtained its additional licenses through two difference sources. Following the DfT’s changes, Acumen was able to obtain a further eight licenses from the Department and then the RHA put the company in touch with another operator who had two licenses that were surplus to requirements.
"For our customers with high load volumes, such as automotive parts, there is a strong argument for the use of LSTs as they offer approximately15% extra load capacity. It means we can reduce road miles and therefore carbon emissions, improve fuel consumption and make fewer deliveries", said Chris Doughty, Managing Director of Acumen Distribution.
The 15% increase in volume carried by each longer semi-trailer has enabled Acumen to run 9 less trips per week for a major Tier 1 automotive supplier on a regular Midlands – North East – Midlands roundtrip. This equates to 189,000 road miles per annum. This is clearly helping the environment, reducing fuel consumption, decreasing traffic congestion and providing greater operational efficiency.
The Freight and Logistics Division of the Department for Transport (DfT) has commissioned the study to examine the feasibility and impacts of allowing longer semi-trailers to operate within the British road haulage market. The primary objective of the study is to establish whether the introduction of LSTs will deliver overall economic, environmental and communal benefits.
The current UK maximum semi-trailer length is 13.6 metres. Some vehicles, particularly those carrying lighter consumer goods, tend to reach their payload volume capacity before their gross vehicle weight (GVW) limit of 44 tonnes. Additional semi trailer length would enable such vehicles to carry more cargo within the existing GVW restrictions, even if the increase in the weight of the semi-trailer led to a reduction in the maximum payload weight carried. The purpose of the trial is to ascertain whether longer semi-trailers will provide operating efficiency gains and reduced environmental impacts if fewer vehicles are required to carry the same volume of goods.