Sweden overturns court restrictions on truck cargo capacity

The Swedish government has scrapped new restrictions on how much cargo trucks can carry when entering or leaving the Scandinavian country.
The restrictions came as something of a surprise to the transport industry in a ruling from Sweden’s Supreme Court in July, closing a loophole in the regulations on maximum truck weights.

Trucks from Denmark and Norway and other foreign countries found their maximum cargo weight per vehicle lowered to 40 tonnes, and maximum length restricted to 16.5 metres.

Previously, they could carry 50 tonnes or more if they met certain standards for their vehicles, with trucks as big as 25m allowed.

Transport organisations including postal operators warned that the move would mean more vehicles on the roads and the associated result of a greater environmental impact.

They also warned that the restrictions would mean possible material shortages, and with extra vehicles needed to ship the same amount, higher transport costs.

Norway Post and its cargo subsidiary Bring were among those leading calls for the previous limits to be reinstated, while pressure from government ministers in Denmark and Norway was also being applied to the Swedish government to overturn the Court ruling.

Consequences

Yesterday Sweden’s Ministry of Industry confirmed that it will scrap the new limits by amending the country’s Highway Code. The move should take effect from 4th September, 2012.

Industry minister Catharina Elmsäter-Svärd said: “I am well aware that this had consequences for both carriers and their transportation customers. I am pleased we have been able to find a solution in such a short time.”

Norway Post and Bring said they had adjusted their shipment processes to the new lower vehicle weight limit pending the reinstatement of the previous rule.

The Norwegian Truck Owners Association, which had said the Norwegian truck industry would need 500 new trucks to continue operating under the Court’s ruling, said international trucks would from next month be free to carry more than 40 tonnes of cargo without fear of being stopped by the Swedish police.

The Association’s chief executive, Geir A Mo said: “It is very gratifying to see that Swedish authorities have realised the seriousness of this matter and ordered change so quickly.

“They have returned to the old practice, and they have also made sure that this is now authorised by the regulations.”

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