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Longer HGVs – Is this what we need for our logistics network?

Longer vehicles on our roads – how can this regulation change benefit you?

From the end of May 2023, new UK Government regulations will be in force that permit longer delivery vehicles to be on our roads. You may already have seen some of the 3000 vehicles operated by brands such as Greggs, Argos, and Morrisons as part of an 11-year trial.  

Longer semi-trailers (LSTs) can transport a higher volume of goods, resulting in fewer vehicles on the road and subsequently reduced running costs. This move is projected to boost the UK economy by £1.4 billion, supporting supply chain productivity and saving 70,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. It is one of the many government measures that are aimed at supporting the freight industry which include driver training and better roadside facilities.  

More about the regulations here

UK economy boosted by £1.4 billion as longer lorries roll out on roads – GOV.UK (

What does this mean in practice?

The new regulations are fully supported by freight industry groups. Representatives from the manufacturing, retail, and logistics sectors have identified the potential for growth and innovation resulting from the new legislation. Logistics UK says this change will bring many environmental benefits due to lower congestion and fewer vehicles on the road. It also suggests that it has the potential to increase road safety although this has been contested by some.

The longer vehicles will move the same overall volume of goods as current HGVs but will require 8% fewer journeys. The newly permitted LSTs can enable 30 standard UK pallets to be transported in a trailer as opposed to 26. That can mean 8 more pallets in a double-decker trailer. This has immediate benefits for supply chain efficiency and resilience:  fewer trips and reduced emissions as well as improved customer service.

“The introduction of longer semi-trailers (LSTs) into general service will increase the scope and scale of the goods which our industry can transport, increasing efficiencies and reducing the environmental impact of delivering for the UK’s economy.”

Chris Yarsley, Logistics UK’s senior policy manager of road freight regulation.

Longer HGVs in the UK, logistics network strategyAt The Supply Chain Consulting Group, our goal is to help you

reduce transportation costs while maintaining high levels of service quality and on-time delivery. LSTs may provide the answer. The LSTs can be up to 2.05 metres longer than a standard semi-trailer and can be towed by a tractor unit (lorry). The new overall maximum total vehicle length allowed, including the tractor unit, is 18.55 metres. LSTs still must adhere to the same permitted 44-tonne weight limit.

How can this change impact your supply chain operations?

There is great potential to optimise your transport logistics by observing some of the benefits achieved by the companies involved in the trial.  Gregg’s plc, the bakery chain, has been running LSTs from its Newcastle distribution centre as a trial since 2013. It has seen significant efficiency, sustainability, and cost benefits from reducing annual km travelled by 540,000. “That’s a major saving in fuel and other vehicle operational costs.”

How efficient is your existing transport network? Is it possible that you can improve your operational efficiency and profitability by reviewing your logistics strategy? The opportunity is there to increase load capacity which will reduce the cost per pallet delivered.   

SCCG offers transport optimisation solutions that are tailored to meet the unique needs of each client. We have undertaken a range of UK and European logistics infrastructure and network reviews for many organisations including major UK and European retailers, FMCG as well as third-party logistics (3PL) companies. Our team of experienced professionals uses advanced tools and techniques to analyse your transportation operations, identify areas for improvement, and develop strategies that will help you achieve your transportation goals.

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