For weeks already rain- and snowfall are below normal winter conditions. In the river Rhine the water dropped to extreme low levels. Because vessels can’t be fully loaded, all vessels that are able to sail are into service.
The prognosis is that with climate change low water will occur more often. For a country like The Netherlands, where approximately 30% of the freight cargo is carried by inland waterways, this is a serious issue to look at. We have a lot of experience with defending our country against flooding. Now we have to work also on solutions to overcome low water.
There are new developments to announce on High Capacity Vehicles in Europe. On their own territory EU Member States are allowed to deviate from the EU guideline for maximum weights and dimensions. From the 1st of January 2017, Germany decided to allow extra-long vehicle combinations (Lang-Lkw) on a dedicated road network. The Lang-Lkw is 25.25m/40T; 44T when used in intermodal transport. Germany also opened the door for cross border transport for these type of combinations, based on bilateral agreements. The decision is the conclusion of five years extensive research on the impact of the Lang-Lkw on traffic safety, infrastructure, environment and the modal split.
In theory a corridor for Lang-Lkw transport could be built between The Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries (max. 40T). In these countries vehicle combinations of 25.25m are allowed for a long time already. It is unknown what will be the market demand for long distance volume transport on this corridor.
Germany also extended for the next seven years a trial with a longer trailer on a dedicated road network, the so-called Big-Maxx. This concept has a total vehicle combination length of 17.80m instead of the 16.50m of regular tractor semi-trailer combination.
The Lang-Lkw and the Big Maxx add new dimensions on the European commercial vehicle fleet. It will influence the EU weights and dimensions policy. In what way it is up to the other European countries.
I have to end with a request from my country to the new president of the United States. In this video The Netherlands asks Mr. Trump if our country can be second: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELD2AwFN9Nc. Not long after this movie went viral, other European countries started their own campaign.
Regards and drive safely!