Don Bur 15.65m

Early indications suggest that the larger 15.65m longer semi-trailer size is proving a more popular option than its 14.6m counterpart in the Department for Transport's (DfT) ten-year trial of the new lengths, announced last December.

According to the DfT, “two or three” companies have returned their allowance of the smaller 14.6m design and MT has learnt the government is now permitting firms to swap allocations them between themselves, or even give them away as long as no business trials more than 270.

Andy Price, fleet support manager, Gregory Distribution, which has had three licences granted at 15.65m, believes the DfT is currently "over subscribed" at this size.

He says: "We've requested an extra quota as we feel we could operate more of these trailers."

Clive Cowern, director of Clive Cowern Transport Services, says he is pleased the firm has been granted the go-ahead to run one trailer at its preferred length of 15.65m.

"There is definitely quite a bit of extra scope for increased volumes with the 15.65m length trailer over the smaller one", he says.

Piers Carroll, vice chairman, Saints Transport, which has been allocated five trailers at 15.65, adds: "From our point of view, if you are going to go through the added implications of these long trailers then you may as well do so with the largest option possible."

However, Andy Boyle, MD at ABE (Ledbury), which has been allocated two trailers at 14.6, says he believes many firms applied to take part in the trial simply because they didn't want to be left behind by larger competitors like Eddie Stobart and Wincanton.

He explains: "There is no question the trailers at both sizes will be safe on the road.

"My concern is that people have not thought through the implications of manoeuvring them in and out of bays designed for 13.6m trailers."

Jack Semple, RHA policy director, says: "My understanding is that not a lot of hauliers are returning their permits.

"However, there may be a desire for an adjustment; some want more, some may not want as many as they have been given."