Impact assessment and the future of HCT trucks in Finland

Lasse Nykänen, Heikki Liimatainen

    Research output: Other conference contributionAbstractScientific


    Purpose: Finnish government allowed high capacity transport (HCT) trucks to operate freely on Finnish roads in October 2013, although Finland already differed from most of the EU countries by using EU’s exemption to allow European modular system trucks (up to 60 tonnes and 25.25 meters long) to operate in national roads. This decision clearly differs from general European legislation (FinLex 4.12.1992/1257). The new regulation increased the maximum weight limit of trucks from 60 tonnes to 76 tonnes and the maximum height limit from 4.2 meters to 4.4 meters. The maximum length of trucks remained at 25.25 meters. In addition to this new regulation, Finland has allowed operators to test even larger (up to 104 tonnes and 34.5 meters long) HCT vehicle combinations with exemption permissions on certain roads. During the summer 2015, four transport operators operated with seven HCT combinations by using this exemption permission. In these trials vehicle combinations transported raw timber, laminated veneer lumber beams, long shipping containers and retail goods. (Lahti & Tanttu 2016) The purpose of this study is to analyse how new HCT trucks have affected the Finnish road freight transportation sector by focusing on the trucks that are 76 tonnes or lighter. The impacts of the new heavier and higher trucks are analysed via the development in energy efficiency, emissions and transportation volumes. The similar analysis has been done in 2013 before the new regulation came into force by the authors and this study also includes a comparison between the predicted impacts and the realised impacts (see Liimatainen & Nykänen 2014a). Thousands of HCT trucks, which are heavier than 60 tonnes and lighter than 76 tonnes, have been registered in Finland since the new regulation. Finnish transport operators have been in interested in new heavier and higher trucks, but without effective use of increased load capacity potential benefits can not be achieved. Up to 76 tonnes HCT trucks have been permitted in Finnish roads since autumn 2013 and after two and a half year experiences it is possible to analyse how well transport companies have been able to utilize potential load capacity based on actual data. Design/methodology/approach: The study presents a quantitative analysis where data from national road freight transport statistics from 2000 to 2015 are combined to the fuel consumption data from LIPASTO and NTM databases by using KAHMA - truck fleet management model (Liimatainen & Nykänen 2014b; Statistics Finland 2016). This time series allows authors to analyse the impacts of new HCT trucks from about two and a half year time period and compare that development with historical development and the predicted impacts from the study from 2013. Vehicle registration information is gathered from the register information services of Finnish Transport Safety Agency and from the vehicle manufactures and importers. Furthermore, the impacts of the exemption permission HCT trucks are presented based on the existing Finnish literature (see Lahti & Tanttu 2016). Findings: In Finland transport operators have been widely interested in new higher and heavier vehicles and thus new regulation has been well adopted in terms of vehicle registration volumes. Shift from 60 tonnes to 76 tonnes offers more than one third increase in payload, which has encouraged transport companies to actively invest in new HCT trucks. Experiences from exemption permission pilots have also been positive and vehicles have been working without any significant problems (Lahti & Tanttu 2016). Relevance/contribution: HCT trucks have been seen as one of the most effective solutions to improve the road freight efficiency. However, attitudes towards HCT trucks have strongly differed in national legislation between EU countries. (International Transport Forum 2016; OECD 2011; Sanchez Rodrigues et al. 2015) This study presents data analysis which provides actual data over the two year time period about the impacts of the HCT trucks operating on the Finnish road network. The results provide unique empirical input to the ongoing policy debate on high capacity transport. Keywords: high capacity transport, road freight transport, energy efficiency, CO2 emissions
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016
    Publication typeNot Eligible
    Event3rd International Workshop on Sustainable Road Freight - Cambridge, United Kingdom
    Duration: 5 Dec 20166 Dec 2016


    Conference3rd International Workshop on Sustainable Road Freight
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


    • HCT
    • road transport
    • Freight logistics
    • Energy efficiency
    • policy


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