Dick Denby

The European logistics director at Kimberly-Clark believes operators should push the DfT to introduce "super" semi-trailers into in its longer semi-trailer trial.

Peter Surtees, European logistics director at Kimberly-Clark, was speaking after the publication of a University of Huddersfield report on high capacity vehicles (HCVs) last week.

Impact Assessment: High-Capacity Vehicles, which was sponsored by the firm, claims operators could cut fuel consumption and carbon emissions by between 11% and 19% per unit of load (on a pallet/km basis) by using 25.25m-long HCVs.

Cost savings from adoption of the trailers already used on the Continent could be as much as £226m per year for UK road transport.

Surtees believes it would be practical to include the 25.25m combinations (operating at 44 tonnes) in the ten-year trial of the 14.6m and 15.65m longer semi-trailers begun at the start of this year. Kimberly-Clark is participating within the trial alongside its logistics partner Norbert Dentressangle.

"I think there is a case for moving these things forward under the same umbrella. Hopefully this report will start the debate," said Surtees.

However, the DfT has rebuffed the idea in the first instance. It told MT that with the trial already underway, the introduction of a third variant would affect its ability to accurately asses the performance of the 14.6m and 15.65m trailers.

"We have no intention of allowing semi-trailers of other vehicle combinations that go beyond the dimensions in the current trial.  The trial is based on extensive research, 2011 consultation and our own impact assessment," said the DfT spokeswoman

"This work showed that the greatest net benefits would come from the type of trailer that we are now trialling.  The purpose of the trial is to verify these findings in practice, in real-world operations.  We are also monitoring any issues around safety and practicality of using these vehicles," she said.

Image: The Denby Transport Eco-Link is an example of an HCV currently run on the Continent.