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U.K. Will Let Truckers Test Longer Trailers to Boost Capacity

The U.K. government is to allow some trucking companies to use longer trailers for a 10-year trial period to boost freight capacity on Britain’s roads.

The Department of Transport will permit the use of 900 trailers with a maximum length of 15.65 meters (51.3 feet) instead of the 13.6 meters currently allowed, it said in a statement on its website in London today. Another 900 trailers that are 1 meter longer than the current norm will also be licensed. They won’t be allowed to exceed the 44 metric-ton weight limit for trucks.

The longer vehicles will provide as much as 13 percent more loading space, allowing fewer journeys to transport the same amount of goods without compromising safety, the ministry said. It said the measure would provide a 33 million-pound ($52 million) boost to the haulage industry.

“By allowing companies to use one truck where they may have previously needed to send two, we can help the sector improve efficiency and save money -- which should in turn benefit consumers,” Roads Minister Mike Penning said in the statement. “Independent research showed the potential environmental, safety and congestion benefits of longer trailers and this voluntary trial will give industry the opportunity to demonstrate how this works in practice.”

Stobart Group Ltd., which operates more than 2,200 trucks, welcomed the government announcement.

“We see considerable opportunities for the meter option within our operations,” Chief Operating Officer William Stobart said in an e-mailed statement

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