Road freight is normally the most economical way of moving goods within Europe, road freight is suitable for most goods that are non perishable and can be a great cost effective way of sending your goods around Europe. As part of the Movecorp network we operate a regular service to all European destinations by road.
Our experts are on hand to discuss the range of options for shipping your goods overseas, get a free quote by calling our team today.
Our most popular shipping services are:
:: Box & Parcels
:: Pallets & Crates
:: Commercial Cargo
:: Documents & Paperwork
:: Personal and Household Effects
:: 20ft and 40ft Shipping Containers
International road freight
Over the last year, a total of 3.5 million goods vehicles 1 travelled from Great Britain to Continental Europe; of these 2.4 million were trucks or vans and 1.1 million were trailers. Of the 2.4 million powered vehicles, 2.0 million were registered overseas. The whole of the UK economy is critically dependent on road freight; all we eat, drink and most of the other goods we purchase depend on it. Road freight is also a crucial part of international haulage involving air freight 1 and sea freight.
Road freight shipments
There are two classes of road freight shipments:
- LTL is short for Less than Truckload Shipping, a service that combines shipments from many customers, transporting them together in a shared truck. By allowing several businesses to share the same truckload, costs are kept to a minimum, and we can achieve much higher levels of efficiency.
- FTL or Full Truckload Shipping is a service to provides a full truckload for shipments. FTL is used for large loads and for loads that can’t share a truck possibly because of safety concerns.
Lorry types and sizes
In the UK and Europe, there is a wide range of lorry types and sizes. In the UK most of the lorries used are for transporting dry goods and are either box body or curtain sided designs. Flatbed trucks are rigid lorries that are used for transporting heavy bulk items such as concrete pipes, aero-engines, etc. Tilt trailers are flatbed trailers that tilt to allow a vehicle or container to be loaded using a winch. Another variation is a tipper truck which is used for unloading bulk cargo such as building materials.
When you are relocating your home, you may use Luton peak body trucks. These are box vans that additionally incorporate a loading space above the front cab which significantly increases the load space. If you are organising a big house move, you may use an articulated furniture truck, but these are relatively uncommon.
Chilled trucks and refrigerated containers are used for transporting perishable goods, for instance, food and pharmaceuticals such as vaccines. There may be box vans or articulated trucks hauling refrigerated containers. Liquid loads are transported by tankers, which are also used for powders such as cement and flour.
The main categories of lorries and their maximum weights as specified by the government are:
- Light Goods Vehicles which have a maximum of two axles and a maximum gross weight of 3,5 tonnes. These are not permitted to have side or rear windows.
- Small two axle lorries with a maximum gross rate of 3.5 to 7.5 tonnes
- Larger two axle lorries with a gross weight of between 7.5 and 18 tonnes
- Three-Axle rigid lorries with a maximum weight of 25 or 26 tonnes depending on which axle does the steering
- Three-Axle articulated lorries with a maximum weight of 26 tonnes
- Four axle rigid lorries with a maximum weight of 30 or 32 tonnes depending on which axle does the steering
- Four axle articulated lorries with a maximum weight of 36 or 38 tonnes depending on which axle does the steering
- Four-axle vehicle and drawbar trailer with a maximum weight of 30 or 36 tonnes depending on the distance between the vehicle and trailer
- Five axle articulated lorries with a maximum weight of 40 tonnes
- Five axle vehicle and drawbar trailer with a maximum weight of 40 tonnes
- Six axle articulated lorries with a maximum weight of 41 tonnes
- Six axle vehicle and drawbar trailer with a maximum weight of 41 tonnes
- Five or six-axle articulated lorries with a maximum weight of 44 tonnes
- Six axle vehicle and drawbar trailer with a maximum weight of 44 tonnes
While these standards apply over most of Europe, when Sweden and Finland joined the EU some problems were created as those countries permit larger lorry sizes which include six-axle vehicles with a maximum weight of 53 tonnes and seven axle vehicles with a maximum weight of 60 tonnes.
Loading containers on trucks
While containers can be loaded on trucks using various types of lifts and cranes, doing so efficiently can be challenging. Today there are several apps available that make the job much easier and help keep costs to a minimum. Many of these tools can be used for a combination of road freight, sea freight, airfreight and break-bulk cargo handling.
Attaching containers to lorries
Containers are firmly attached to lorries using ISO container twist locks, which avoids having to trap and chain them thus increasing the efficiency of loading and unloading.
Loading and unloading trucks is a highly specialised job that legally must be carried out by trained staff who are aware of all the risks involved while loading, unloading and transporting the load. Legally the ultimate responsibility lies with the truck driver, even when they took no part in the loading or unloading operations. It is their duty to satisfy themselves that the load is safe before setting off on the journey.
Loads that are not adequately secured are particularly dangerous. The government 2 publishes detailed guidelines on load securing.
The future of road freight
In many ways, we are rapidly approaching the end of road freight as we know it today. In the future, we are likely to see more environmentally friendly, faster, and more efficient solutions. The automotive industry is investing in technologies that will facilitate truck platooning and road train transport in which a lead truck sets the route, and a following group of trucks follows on autonomously, saving fuel and improving safety. According to the Financial Times, 3 we will see driverless trucks within the next decade.
Europe has published a white paper 4 that targets reducing the dependency of road transport on oil. The paper accepts that diesel will continue to power road haulage for the next decade or so but describes how technologies currently in development may provide solutions.
- Air freight: http://www.airfreight.org.uk/air-freight/
- Road goods vehicles travelling to Europe: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/road-goods-vehicles-travelling-to-europe-october-2017-to-september-2018
- Load securing guidelines: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/load-securing-vehicle-operator-guidance/load-securing-vehicle-operator-guidance
- 3 Trucks headed for a driverless future: https://www.ft.com/content/7686ea3e-e0dd-11e7-a0d4-0944c5f49e46
- Future development of road freight transport: https://ac.els-cdn.com/S1877042812028674/1-s2.0-S1877042812028674-main.pdf?_tid=81c5df18-e631-483f-ac14-590a92798da3&acdnat=1545227703_b89ccecdcdf461198db0caf157b4421b