Stricter transportation rules could tighten German truck capacities

A length limit for truck transports of long steel has been enforced in Germany more strictly. This could lead to lower availability of truck capacities, and eventually higher transportation prices.

According to the regulation, products of 14 metres – a standard length popular with construction sites – or more must be carried on open trailers. For a long time, closed trailers that left their back doors open were accepted, but this tolerance has come to an end. One problem is that a number of transport companies over time have exchanged the open trucks of their fleet for closed trucks that can be used for many non-steel products.

It is not quite clear why controls have become stricter. The owner of a rebar bending shop in the Frankfurt area suspects this is a tool of discipline for Eastern European transporters.

The new rule tightening comes independently of the Covid-19 pandemic, which itself is causing shortages of trucks (see Kallanish 14 October). “The regulation will cause a shortage of especially open-trailer trucks, and the lower availability will certainly lead to longer delivery times,” the rebar bending shop manager says. He has warned customers to take longer lead times into account going forward.

In the long term, truck fleets need to invest into buying open trailers, and this would lead to an increase in freight prices, he predicts.