Dear IFRTT Subscribers,
As the new Vice-President Europe, please allow me to briefly introduce myself: I am a Senior Researcher in the Automotive Research Group at HAN University of Applied Sciences in Arnhem, the Netherlands. In the past 10 years, I have worked on numerous research projects on both national and international levels, in the fields of vehicle dynamics and control, related mainly to Heavy Goods Vehicles and driver support.
In this issue of the newsletter you will find information about the evolving implementation of European Modular System (EMS) vehicles in Europe.
High Capacity Vehicles in the form of EMS combinations are already allowed in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, most German federal states, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden, but in principle every country regulates the weight and length limits itself. Recently, EMS vehicle combinations were also adopted in the Czech Republic. The maximum length and the weight of a normal vehicle combination is currently set to 22 meters and 44 tonnes, respectively. So, the move towards 25.25 m and 48 tonnes, which are the limits for EMS combination in Czech Republic, does not represent a drastic step. Moreover, the increase of maximum weight to 48 tonnes is frequently not even required by the operators as most of these EMS vehicles are used for an Automotive industry supply chain where the transport is mainly volume oriented and 44 tonnes of maximum gross vehicle combination weight suffice.
Permission to operate on a route between specific points is issued for a maximum time period of 3 months and can be renewed on a regular basis. The majority of requests are granted when the route is driven on the highway network and distribution centres are no further than 10 km away from the highway exit. Additionally, the vehicle combination is not allowed to use railway crossings. As the Czech highway network lacks sufficient density it is frequently problematic for the operators to find customers within permitted range of a distribution centre, in order to avoid an empty return trip. This is a reason why the numbers are growing very slowly, with 61 EMS combinations currently operating under the permission of the Czech Ministry of Transport.
An additional limitation of a more severe character, seen also in many European Countries, is the cross-border transport with EMS combinations, which is not allowed and formally requires bilateral agreement of bordering countries. However, practically, it may be problematic to acquire this agreement even if the limits for EMS vehicle combinations on both sides of the border are the same, which appears to be the case between Germany and the Czech Republic. On contrary this agreement has been achieved between the countries of Benelux or is not required at all for the cross-border transport in the Scandinavia. Hence, the missing legislation on EU-level that would ease up EMS cross-border transport is a key for their future deployment in the EU, as was also pointed out by ACEA (European Automotive Manufacturers Association) Secretary General Jonnaert in a recent Workshop on High Capacity Transport in Brussels.
To stick to the decorum, I am pleased to brief you about the recent weather in some parts of continental Europe (mainly Netherlands, Germany and Czech Republic). After a rather dry Spring, which in fact better resembled a regular Summer, June was even warmer (daily temperatures from ~25 up to 38°C!) and rich on intensive storms which occurred quite frequently with hail, very strong wind, and sometimes resulted in local floods or broken trees. Nearby in Munich hail the size of tennis balls even fell, resembling a little bit of apocalyptic weather! Let us hope the coming ‘summer’ months will be more pleasant.
In conclusion, let me wish to those on the northern hemisphere a nice summer holiday and to all the rest a relaxed winter.
Greetings from the Netherlands,
IFRTT Vice-President: Europe