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Asda warns over EC plans to ban 4m trailers

By: William Hobson
25 October 2010

The European Commission's (EC) plans to standardise trailer heights at a maximum of 4m will disrupt logistics work and undermine sustainability, Asda's national transport operations manager has said.

Speaking in Road Transport, Chris Hall says that the EC's plans will effectively remove 230 double-deck units from the supermarket giant's fleet of road transports. According to Hall his company has used double-deckers extensively in its transport operations, from inter-depot trunking to on-store deliveries.

"Double-deckers are a growing aspect to our business," he said, "the cost and environmental benefits we are getting from using them to deliver to stores are significant."

Hall estimates that the use of these trailers saves Asda some 7 million miles per year on trunking operations and another 3 million miles per year on store deliveries - figures which equate to some 500 vehicle movements per week. The use of double-deckers on store delivery operations was a key factor in Asda's recent award for Sustainable Distribution from best-practice group IGD.

"Any move to limit their use would be a big blow to our sustainability and business plan over the next five years," said Hall.

Asda joins several other UK firms and industry bodies opposing the EC's proposals. Earlier this month Ray Collington, central transport fleet engineer for John Lewis estimated that lower trailer heights would add an extra 3.2 million miles of annual mileage for the company's logistical operations and result in a rise of 3,000 tonnes of CO2.

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