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UK vs Europe Haulage Limits

Did you know that last year 3.5 million heavy goods vehicles travelled from GB to Europe of which 2.4 million went with cab and driver “accompanied”.  1.1 million were unaccompanied trailers ready to be collected on the other side of the pond.

In 2018 the number of commercial vehicles that travelled from GB to Europe decreased by 2% compared to the previous year, 0.3million were UK registered vehicles and 2 million were foreign registered vehicles, this drop may be partially due to the “Road Levy Charge” that the UK introduced back in 2014 meaning additional costs to the foreign haulier.

This Levy was revised in 2018 stating that foreign trucks could benefit from a lower levy charge if their trucks were less polluting. But as they don’t necessarily have the same standards as the UK this would mean further outlay for them and the need to purchase newer / cleaner engined trucks.  All in all this has seen a reduction in Foreign haulage companies entering LEZ (Lower Emmission Zone) areas like those within the M25, resulting in them not being able to take freight from the UK as backloads for cheaper rates. Cheaper rates and cheaper vehicles sometimes come with lower security and probably reduced service levels, therefore a lot more of the UK’s exports are now being collected, delivered and controlled by UK hauliers as dedicated loads. This is altogether safer, better controlled and certainly maintains higher service levels from start to finish for your customers.

warehousing pallet storage sussexWhen operating heavy goods vehicles in Europe there are many laws, regulations and agreements that must be abided by, the main rules cover road transport safety, security and environmental protection… however I diverse this is one for another day!


Today is to show the differing carrying capacity, vehicle heights and lengths between the UK and Europe based on a standard artic curtain sider doing general haulage work.

In both the UK & Europe the current Maximum Length of the vehicle is – 16.5m

UK Maximum Height – 5m                             Euro Maximum Height – 4m

UK & Euro Maximum Width – 2.6m

UK Maximum Weight – 44 tonne                    Euro Maximum Weight – 40 tonne

This is by no means an exhaustive list as there are many variants which will affect the above, such as vehicle body type, trailer type, number of axles, length between axles etc… the list is endless!

If you are looking to send freight to Europe give us a call on 0800 915 23 23  so we can talk you through your options and give you a cost effective , high-quality service you are looking for.