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LHV in South Baltic ?

The European Union legislation limits the size of road vehicles used for international freight transport to 18.75 m and 40 tones. Other dimensions are accepted for domestic services as long as vehicle combinations are based on the so-called European Modular System which is a concept of allowing combinations of existing loading units (modules) into longer and sometimes heavier vehicle combinations to be used on some parts of the road network. Long heavy vehicles (LHVs) are not allowed to cross borders. Some Member States, including the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany have carried out trials, some of them for several years, allowing such vehicles to run on the national road network. In these cases, a special temporary permission is given, in line with the EU legislation allowing for exemptions, and the vehicles can be operated under prescribed conditions on certain parts of the national road network.

However not all EU member states have same restrictions for domestic transport. For instance Scandinavian countries are well known examples of applying different than EU standards allowing LHV freely operate within the country.

Sweden has a tradition of long and long heavy trucks (LHV also known as Gigaliner, EuroCombi, EcoLiner, innovative commercial vehicle, mega-truck, etc…). A length of 25.25 metres has been permitted for modular vehicles since 1996. Maximum gross vehicle weight has successively been increased from 37 tonnes (1968) to 60 tonnes (1993). Around 1985 Sweden took an extensive load-bearing capacity initiative which meant e.g. that bridges built before 1945 were replaced. Today around 90 per cent of public roads and around 94 per cent of stateowned roads are open to 60 tonne vehicles. Vehicles up to 25.25 metres in length are allowed on almost all public roads, with the exception of the central parts of some cities. The vehicle combinations and dimensions of single components used fulfilling the requirements of the European Directive 96/53/EC for domestic and international transports
are illustrated below.
There were many studies made in Sweden aiming clearly identifying costs and benefits of having LHV on the roads. Analysis of infrastructural adjustments, environmental, health, safety and other factos suggests that the socio-economic effect of using longer and heavier road vehicles in Sweden than in the rest of the EU has been seen to be positive due to lower transport cost for the industry and in the end private consumers. The investments in load-bearing capacity which started in 1988 were recouped by society in relative short time. Traffic safety, infrastructure, environment and transport cost are the main aspects that is identified as relevant when discussing LHVs. The effects of these aspects are to a great extent dependent on where (on which types of roads) LHVs are allowed to operate, logistic solution and possibility for modal shift.
However Swedish conclusions towards positive LHV’s apply only to particular conditions, thus same advantages cannot be easy transferred to another country. While considering all major aspects of the impact of LHVs on the safety of the transport system, the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) calls for a careful consideration of the safety aspects. Nonetheless many experts agrees that LHVs might be applied at limited scope elsewhere for instance main roads, motorways linking main logistic centers and bypassing cities and heavy populated areas. Sweden and Germany already have plans to analyse the effects of using Swedish road vehicle dimensions in a specific corridor between Germany and Sweden (Marco Polo corridor Norrköping – Herne). We will see maybe this is first step towards LHV development in the whole South Baltic Region. 
Inforamtion source: European Transport Safety Council (ETSC). ETSC position on Longer and Heavier Goods Vehicles on the roads of the European Union.
ERICSON, Johan; LINDBERG, Gunnar; MELLIN, Anna; VIERTH, Inge. Co-modality – The socio-economic effects of longer and/or heavier vehicles for land-based freight transport. Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute
Picture source: www.roadtransport.com /http://www.roadtransport.com/blogs/big-lorry-blog/container-transport/

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