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Stobart Group welcomes public consultation into extended trailer lengths

Stobart Group welcomes today’s announcement by Roads Minister, Mike Penning MP. He announced to the House of Commons that a public consultation is launched, concerning high volume semi-trailers and longer trailer lengths.

The Group has long campaigned the advantages of extended trailer lengths, which are several-fold and include significant environmental benefits, easing of traffic congestion and important efficiency gains to businesses in the current economic climate.

William Stobart, Group Chief Operating Officer, said: "This is a very positive step for the future of road transport in Great Britain, with significant and real environmental benefits, and CO2 reductions at the heart of the consultation."

He added: "A large number of loads ‘bulk out before they weigh out’, which means trailers reach volume capacity long before reaching maximum permitted gross weight. This illustrates the point that longer trailers with increased capacities could significantly increase load sizes without impacting on CO2 emissions, and at the same time reduce the number of trucks on the road – bringing benefits across the board to the environment, other road users, and ultimately the retailers and their customers."

Stobart Group has conducted research into the benefits of extended trailer lengths over a number of months and has developed two proto-type high volume semi-trailers (pictured). The current maximum permitted trailer length is 13,600mm, and the proposed maximum length, subject to consultation, will be 2,050mm longer at 15,650mm. This will result in a 15% increase in volume capacity for pallets and 20% for cages, equivalent to a maximum load increase from 26 to 30 1000x1200mm pallets or from 45 to 54 UK standard retail cages.

"Internal research within Eddie Stobart, using our longest prototype development trailer at 15,650mm, suggests that this would be best suited to ‘closed loop’ transport operations, to and from the same locations, for fast moving consumer goods," said William Stobart.

The Group has also developed a mid-length extended trailer at 950mm longer than the current 13,600mm standard, at 14,550mm, delivering capacity gains of 8% for pallets and 13% for cages, equivalent to an increase from 26 to 28 pallets or 45 to 51 retail cages.

"We believe this mid-length extended trailer could become the industry standard. It is lighter, so still delivers 28 tonnes of carrying capacity making it more flexible for general haulage, and it is less costly to build," added William Stobart.

The 14,550mm proto-type trailer has been exclusively tested and approved by the Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA), confirming its compliance with legislation on turning circles and maximum gross weights.

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