> INCREASE TONNAGE DURING TRANSPORT IN FLANDERS

transportation, freight transport and vehicle concept - close up of truck on parking

After Wallonia has foreseen a tonnage increase to 50 tons since 1 May 2018, the decision of the Flemish Government that foresees a tonnage increase in Flanders was published in the Belgian Official Gazette on 26 November 2021.

From December 6, 2021 the maximum permitted mass of conventionally powered vehicles is increased from 44 to 48 tons under specific conditions.

In order to have a maximum authorized mass of 48 tonnes – or a maximum of 50 tonnes in the case of environmentally friendly and emission-free vehicles (infra) – the tow consisting of a tractor vehicle with three axles and a semi-trailer or trailer with three axles, as in Wallonia also in Flanders to meet several conditions:

> All axles of the trail must be equipped with air suspension (or an equivalent suspension system);

> The minimum distance between the center of two axles placed one behind the other within the same vehicle or combination is 1.30 meters ;

> The use of a trailer with a rigid drawbar or a centre-axle trailer is not permitted;

> The towing vehicle and the towed vehicle must be equipped with a sensor device that allows the driver to read the total mass of each vehicle, as well as the tow and the mass under each of the axles;

> The towing vehicle must be equipped with Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC);

> The date of the first commissioning of the towing vehicle is a maximum of 8 years for zero-emission vehicles. For the vehicles that are not emission-free, the maximum age is reduced to 5 years so that they comply with the latest environmental and safety standards;

> The sum of the masses under the axles of a semi-trailer may not exceed 25,000 kg when loaded;

> The laden mass of the tow must not exceed the following value in kilograms: 13,500 + 2,700 x the distance, expressed in meters, between the center of the first axle of the towing vehicle and the center of the rear axle of the towed vehicle ;

> The driver of a tow must, at all times, keep a minimum distance of 15 m from other vehicles with a maximum authorized mass of more than 3.5 tons

From January 1, 2031 The above derogation will only apply to zero-emission vehicles and alternatively fuel powered vehicles whose date of first placing in service is between December 31, 2025 and December 31, 2030.

Zero-emission vehicles are vehicles without an internal combustion engine, or with an internal combustion engine that emits less than 1 g CO2/kWh.

Vehicles powered by alternative fuels are vehicles powered by alternative fuels, such as electricity, hydrogen, fuel produced from the biodegradable fraction of products, wastes and residues of biological origin from agriculture, synthetic and paraffinic fuels, natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas.

Finally, there is also from December 6, 2021 for environmentally friendly and emission-free vehicles, a tonnage increase of up to 50 tons is permitted, subject to the following rules:

> If the towing vehicle is powered by alternative fuels, the maximum of 48 tonnes is further increased by the additional mass required for the alternative fuel technology, as determined during the approval of the vehicle and stated on the official documents;

> If the towing vehicle is a zero-emission vehicle, the maximum of 48 tonnes is further increased by the additional mass required for the zero-emission technology, as determined during the vehicle approval and stated on the official documents;

> If the towing vehicle is equipped with a retarder, the maximum of 48 tons is further increased by the mass of that retarder, as determined during the approval of the vehicle or afterwards;

> If the towed vehicle is equipped with special adaptations or with a reinforced chassis for the combined road-rail transport, the maximum of 48 tons is further increased by the additional masses resulting from special adaptations or a reinforced chassis, as determined during vehicle approval or afterwards.

Note that :

The new regulations in Flanders allow a tonnage of up to 48 tons. In case the towing vehicle with 3 axles is powered by alternative fuel or is emission-free, a total weight of 50 tons is allowed.

Source: Transport en Logistiek advocaten and TLV Magazine (edition december 2021)

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