Potsdam, 4. April 2016 – coarse, coarser, gigaliners: freight forwarder burkhard fromm is eagerly awaiting the start of the brandenburg field trial for the use of mega trucks. Then he wants to drive prefabricated building materials from the company’s site in oranienburg (oberhavel) to wiesbaden in hesse in his 25-meter-long so-called gigaliner. Brandenburg has taken four years to join the pilot project of several lander. It is scheduled to start this month – and end by the end of the year. "It would be great if the trial were to continue next year or if regular operation were to begin," says fromm.

Better for the climate

For a long time, the state had opposed the pilot project, which was launched in 2012. Four years ago, there was a meeting with interested trucking companies at the potsdam ministry of transport. But the head of the department at the time, jorg vogelsanger (spd), rejected the gigaliners outright, saying they would endanger traffic and distort competition. Environmentalists fear that in the future more freight will be transported by road instead of by train and that greenhouse gas emissions will increase. Supporters, on the other hand, say that one long truck is better for the climate than several smaller trucks.

Cost advantage: 16 percent

It wasn’t until last fall that the potsdam ministry changed its mind, after the federal office for roads had given a positive assessment of the mega trucks in an interim report. "In november, i suddenly received an e-mail from the ministry of transport asking whether we were still interested in the field trial," said fromm. Without an extension beyond this year, however, the acquisition of a second gigaliners makes no sense to him. He would have to invest around 140.000 euros per truck. In the future, two heavy-duty trucks could replace three conventional trucks. "This leads to savings for us and our customers," says the head of the 50-man company. The federal road administration had calculated a cost advantage of 16 percent for the transport companies when using the gigaliners.

The potsdam chamber of industry and commerce (ihk) also sees the start of the trial operation as positive. So far, he said, the discussion has been mainly about the dangers. "But that is too short-sighted. The trial will explore the opportunities for innovation in road transport," said johannes ginten, the chamber of industry and commerce’s location policy officer. Ginten counters critics by pointing to positive experiences in scandinavian countries, where gigaliners have already been on the road for a long time.

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