TNT Express saves costs with road trains in Northern Europe


TNT truck in Denmark

28 January 2013
- TNT Express has started to use road trains between Helsingborg, Sweden, and Puttgarden, Germany, to lower fuel consumption and emissions. Each road train consists of a conventional tractor pulling one trailer and one "box". This is an efficient alternative to the three trucks previously used to travel the 200km distance. Next to cost savings, the result is better allocation of equipment and drivers, who can return home more often. Transit times and service levels remain untouched.

Before January 2013, TNT Express trucks loaded with freight for Norway and Sweden drove all the way from Arnhem (Netherlands) and Hannover (Germany) to Helsingborg, TNT Express' main hub for the Nordic countries. The vehicles and their drivers would take the ferry in Puttgarden before continuing northwards to Helsingborg, a 13 hours journey from Arnhem (one-way). Today, they stop in Puttgarden, swap trailers and boxes with the road trains coming from Helsingborg, and return to their home base by the end of the day.

Road trains are a common sight in Australia, the US and Canada. In Europe, they are being debated. Proponents of road trains say they reduce road congestion and pollution, as fewer vehicles transport the same amount of goods. Critics argue they affect road safety, damage roads and increase the share of road transport in freight movement. However, a study by Sweden's Transport Research Institute (TFK) in 2007 indicated that longer vehicles may actually improve traffic safety because they reduce the number of vehicles on the road.

Today most EU countries have limited the length of vehicle combinations to a maximum of 18.75 m. On the other hand, Scandinavian countries have been traditionally open to using long freight vehicle combinations, the longest of up to 25.25 m. The Netherlands have conducted several successful trials of so-called "Longer and Heavier Vehicles" since 2000.


Page publication date: 28 January 2013 9:00 CET