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Are XXL trucks coming to the Alps next?

Gigaliner

Gigaliners: intended to promote climate protection, but at the expense of the environment, rail and road infrastructure. © Allianz pro Schiene

The European Union is seeking advice on authorising "gigaliners". These 25-metre trucks are intended to promote climate protection - at the expense of rail transport and infrastructure.
More than 70 per cent of transport emissions are caused by goods transport on the road which, so the European Commission's Traffic White Paper insists, must become more resource-efficient. In concrete terms this means that either empty trips must be avoided or trucks must get longer. Gigaliners would be particularly worthwhile for haulage enterprises over long distances - but that is exactly where goods should be transported by rail. In its resolution against gigaliners, the Alpine Countries Working Group (Arge Alp) quotes a study that such long vehicles would lead to up to 13% more traffic on the roads and 15% less on the railways. In its annual report for 2012 the French Court of Auditors also warns against this contradiction in modal policies.
Moreover, roads and bridges in the Alps can only be converted for gigaliners at high cost. In a study, the Swiss "NoMegatrucks" alliance has calculated that an extra 1.5 billion Swiss francs per year would be needed to maintain the roads if 60-tonners were authorised. Arge Alp also warns that gigaliners represent a safety problem. The Swiss Parliament and the forwarders association oppose such XXL trucks. Bavaria on the other hand has authorised since January 2012 a trial phase for gigaliners, under intense protests.
Consultation on Directive 96/53/EC, which up until now has regulated the length and weight of trucks in the cross-border goods transport, is due to run until 27 February 2012.
Source and further information: www.lgu.li/artikel (de), www.provinz.bz.it/lpa/285.asp?art=382266 (de) www.lichtblick.de/h/medien_358.php?id_rec=221 (de)