News Hauliers pile on the pressure for 44-tonne haulage across Europe

european trucksBy [1]25/06/2024

European regulators are seeking to force through increase tonnage limits for cross-border road freight. Responding to the Council of European Foreign Ministers' failure to reach agreement on a requested 44-tonne limit, the European Commission announced it would reviewing the Weights and Dimensions directive (WDD) of its Greening Freight package of measures to make freight transport more efficient and more sustainable Michael Reul, secretary-general of transport alliance UPTR said: "Hauliers need to reduce their CO2 emissions and the simplest solution is to start improving truck load factors."

The move towards allowing higher road weight limits is seen by some as essential in the EU push to meet its Fit for 55 agenda - which aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 55% by 2030. Despite having banned vehicles of more than 40 tonnes crossing its borders since August 2021, France permits 44-tonnes domestically. Mr Reul said that "given the issue of staff shortages, our transporters do not understand the constraint being imposed upon them by a government that otherwise permits 44-tonne volumes on its roads".

He added: "From an economic point of view, the limitation to 40 tonnes means a loss of four tonnes of payload." However, there are voices in the transport sector supporting French efforts to limit haulage volumes, claiming it was counter-intuitive to promote road freight as part of Europe's green agenda. Instead, they say, road usage needs to be reduced to servicing final-mile and short-distance loads, with rail and inland waterways facilitating the movement of heavier loads.

One source told The Loadstar they supported to French refusal to budge on limits, but nonetheless believed a compromise could be reached to permit short-distance movements, or to service loads in emergency situations where barge and rail were unable to meet demand. Consultant Gunther Ginckels, of SeasC4U, told The Loadstar discussion over increased road freight weights neglected the reality of the continent's infrastructure. he said: "European roads are not only congested, but also technically unable to support such heavy transports, so it will result in faster deterioration of road infrastructure, requiring frequent repairs at high cost." However, Mr Reul remained optimistic that, in the long-run, the French position may change. he said: "I note that French transport federations are taking the same position these days, which is relatively optimistic in the long run.

The Belgian presidency has done the maximum. Hungary now inherits the hot potato. That is one unknown factor.

"The other unknown is France's position after their internal elections.

We are losing time.

And time is not just money, it also means avoidable CO2 emissions."


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