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The head of logistics at The Co-operative Food would welcome any move by the DfT to expand the scope of the longer semi-trailer trial.

Co-operative Food has spent £348,000 getting its full allocation of eight of the 15.65m trailers (the longest of the two variants) on the road.

The Gray & Adams command rear-steer, box-van trailers are being used for trunking  picked orders of ambient goods from Co-operative’s NDC at Prologis Park in Coventry, heading into depots that present access problems for double-deck trailers.

“Incumbent access issues in regards to the use of double deckers have now been overcome through the use of longer semi-trailers," said Mark Leonard, head of logistics service at The Co-operative Food. "These longer semi-trailers are manna from heaven."

The longer trailers hold 60 cages rather than the 51 that fit on standard length trailers and are expected to save 55,000 road miles and around 107 tonnes of CO2 each year.

Leonard said the longer trailers fit perfectly with the group’s wider environmental aims of minimising its impact, adding that used appropriately he can’t see any negatives for operators or the general public.

“We’d seriously consider it,” Leonard said in response to the suggestion the DfT should expand the amount of longer semi-trailers taking part in the current trial.

The DfT approved 180 operators to between them take up 1,811 trailer allocations (split between the 14.6m and 15.65m lengths) in December 2011 as part of a 10-year pilot.

  • The Co-operative Food has seen a 5% cut in delivery miles as part of a pilot at its West Thurrock DC involving Paragon's planning software. The food retailer expects to save as much as 5,000 tonnes of CO2 a year after rolling out the software for use with its 1,500 vehicles across its network, which serve 4,000 stores nationwide.