Legislation of Longer Semi-Trailers in GB seen a positive move for road transport operators

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In response to the recent UK Government announcement granting permission for longer semi-trailers on GB roads, SDC Trailers, is poised to meet the increasing demand for these vehicles. Effective from 31st May 2023, operators can now enhance their capacity by 15% on a single vehicle, utilising trailers that are 2.05metre’s longer than the standard size.

Paul Bratton, President at SDC Trailers, welcomed the decision, saying: “The confirmed legislation of Longer Semi-Trailers in GB is a positive move for operators and SDC are ready to cater to the rising demand for these vehicles. By fully utilising the extended length of these trailers, operators can significantly enhance productivity levels, achieve economic savings, and reduce carbon emissions, thereby fostering a more sustainable road transport industry. As the leading supplier of trailers in the UK and the foremost provider of Longer Semi-Trailers (LSTs) during the trial period, we have developed an extensive offering for more efficient road transport.”

A pioneering collaboration between SDC and Malcolm Logistics resulted in the development of the first 15.65m LST skeletal trailer in 2014. This innovative design provides an additional capacity of up to 15% per 50-foot container or eight pallets per load. Another noteworthy example is SDC’s LST platform trailer with a kicker deck, which facilitates the movement of articulated trucks, as well as plant and machinery. By accommodating three trucks on each trailer instead of the previous limit of two, operators can save one trip for every three journeys, resulting in significant time and fuel savings.

Operators utilising LSTs must adhere to the same 44-tonne weight limit as those employing standard trailers. Additionally, they are legally required to incorporate appropriate route plans and risk assessments that consider the unique specifications of LSTs. Furthermore, operators must implement additional safety checks, including driver training and scheduling, record keeping, training for transport managers and key staff, and proper loading of LSTs.

Over 300 UK companies have already participated in the LST trial, with nearly 3,000 LSTs currently in operation. Prominent brands such as Stobart, Argos, Royal Mail, Greggs, and Morrisons are among those eagerly embracing the extended use of these longer semi-trailers.

SDC’s Longer Semi-Trailer range features a wide range of step-frame and straight frame Curtainsider designs, as well as Boxvan, Platform, and Skeletal trailers, with lengths of up to 15.65m. These trailers predominantly feature one rear steer axle, which can be self-steer or command steer. The highly popular 15.65m LST double deck, equipped with a full-length second deck, enables the transportation of 60 UK pallets, as opposed to the 52 pallets carried by a standard 13.7m trailer with a full-length second deck. This increase means that for every 6.5 trips completed by an LST, an entire trip of the standard double deck can be saved – just one example of how these high volume, low weight trunking trips generated by LSTs can lead to substantial fuel, truck, and greenhouse gas savings.