The European Commission is studying the implementation of 44-ton cargo and modular goods transport vehicles of up to 25.25 meters – known as mega trucks – throughout the EU.
According to the Fenadismer carriers' association, the Commission has admitted that there is a real fragmentation of the market for the use of large vehicles of different weights due to the patchwork of national, bilateral, and multilateral rules on maximum weights and dimensions. Currently, 13 EU countries already allow 44-ton cargo transport vehicles to operate at a national level, and the Spanish Government itself intends to allow them within a year, according to a commitment it has with the National Transport Commission.
The ecological transition is also another reason to approve the increase in weights and dimensions because it would allow moving more cargo in fewer trips, thus reducing gas emissions into the atmosphere given the impossibility of electric trucks.
Fenadismer stressed that the processing and approval of a new European directive approving these measures would take at least two years. In Spain, the Ministry of Transport promised to increase the weight and dimensions in stages from 2023, together with the simplification of the requirements for the authorization and circulation of 25.25-meter mega trucks and duo trailers.
Pros and cons
The Quijote Transport Foundation, to which Fenadismer belongs, commissioned a study from the Basque Country School of Engineering on the 44-ton cargo vehicles, which would increase the trucks' load capacity by another 15%. One of its negative effects is the impact they would have on the roads, increasing the deterioration of the pavement by 42 to 59%, depending on the pavement. Its most positive aspects include its contribution to improving the environment, achieving a global reduction in emissions of nearly 3.7%. However, this could discourage the sector from renewing the fleet with vehicles powered by alternative fuels, and from developing intermodal transport.