Jultra complies with 48-tonne legislation in Belgium with combination

Jultra complies with 48-tonne legislation in Belgium with combination

In a previous newsletter, we wrote about Belgian transport company Jultra. Jonas Claes ordered a new trailer from Kraker, which in combination with the truck loaded may weigh a total of 48 tonnes. This Kraker trailer is the first moving floor trailer on Flemish roads that meets all the requirements of the Belgian 48-tonne legislation.

Maximum authorised mass

Belgian legislation on maximum authorised mass (MTM) is quite complex. In Flanders, an amendment to the law has been adopted that allows a MTM of 48 tonnes to be driven on the road since December 2021. The sub-province of Wallonia already decided in 2018 to allow vehicle combinations of up to 50 tonnes. The permission applies to classically powered vehicles, which meet additional requirements. One of those requirements, is the so-called "bridge formula". This formula, which defines how the maximum mass is distributed among the axles, is intended in the infrastructure to protect against vehicles with excessive loads.

Together, all the rules and requirements around 48-tonne transport should lead to more efficient transport that has less impact on traffic and the environment.

For zero-emission vehicles, an increase to 50 tonnes is possible. That extra two tonnes is in the weight associated with eco-friendly technology, such as batteries. From 2031, those 48-50 tonnes will only be allowed for new, zero-emission vehicles.

Currently, for a classic combination to weigh 48 tonnes, the truck must have three axles, as well as the trailer. The Belgian government also imposes a host of other requirements. One of those requirements is that the truck and trailer must be equipped with measuring sensors, which can read the axle loads and the vehicle weight.

"15 tonnes on the kingpin"

"The big problem was the kingpin pressure. The way the trailer is built now, the maximum pressure is 15 tonnes. The axle load is the same, 9 tonnes, but you are thus allowed much more weight from the front. Standard kingpin pressure is 12 tonnes and then you don't reach the 48 tonnes. That does mean that your towing vehicle must also be modified with a double axle.

"The legislation is actually a concession to be able to load more," Jonas continues. "It is puzzling, though, because Belgium is split into different parts when it comes to the MTM. We are doing this to be ready for the future and because our trucks meet the requirements. If you have to pick this up from scratch, it's actually not doable. And unfortunately, that's also why many companies stop. Actually, we do it mainly to avoid being overloaded. Because if you are overloaded, it costs €1 per kilo. We mainly drive manure, and so you are always heavy and the problem of overloading is always lurking." But manure is not the only thing the trailer is used for. Straw, maize shredding and other products are also transported with the new acquisition.

Quick action by Kraker Trailers gave confidence

" I contacted Timothy Wuyts of Kraker for a quote on this trailer. I explained what I was looking for and we agreed to meet at my premises. When he came, he had actually already done all his homework and things went smoothly. I did approach other brands, but with Kraker I immediately had a good feeling. Tim knew what he was talking about and that gave me confidence. You see, the Belgian market for those 48-tonners is small and as a trailer builder you also have to invest in that in terms of time. Others abandoned that, Kraker picked it up."

Options to facilitate work

Jultra opted for several options that help make the job easier. These include the folding bumper, a trailing axle, a water spray system to clean the trailer and a 10mm floor.

Jultra also opted for divisible upper beam. As standard, the beam is in one piece and rotates with the door. According to Jultra, it gives more freedom of movement during loading and unloading if that beam is divided and locks together when closing.

Kraker vehicles were not unknown to Jonas, as he was already renting Kraker trailers through Smart Trailer Solutions. At first only to bridge the period between purchase and delivery, but that seems to be structural for now. "We're going to buy another Kraker in the future anyway, but renting is so easy and works so conveniently that we'll definitely keep doing it for the time being," he says. At the moment we are very busy transporting maize and for that, a rental trailer is very handy."