In the field of transport, the duotrailer concept has been gaining prominence in recent times, generating both acceptance and rejection, and even sparking controversy.

Some voices praise its advantages, highlighting the cost reductions and the drastic reduction in CO2 emissions it brings.  Today we want to clarify what exactly duotrailers are, their advantages, as well as their impact on the logistics sector.

What is a duotrailer?

The duotrailer is a set of two trailers linked together, similar to the wagons of a train. This set has a length of 31.70 metres and can carry a load of up to 48 tonnes (24 TN + 24 TN). This means that they have the capacity to carry twice the load of a standard trailer, whose average payload in Spain is around 24 tonnes.

Given that approximately 95% of goods transport in Spain is by road, this vehicle format is extremely interesting.

Currently, there are about 180 units circulating on Spanish roads. However, it is important to note that these vehicles are still in a research phase and are not available for purchase through commercial channels. The acquisition of duotrailers is limited through agreements with shippers, operators and hauliers.

Spanish road regulations have not yet been fully adapted to duotrailers, and their use is subject to obtaining a special permit from the DGT. This permit is issued as part of the research assessing their viability on Spanish roads.

At European level, countries such as Norway, which have different road transport regulations to ours, already allow the commercialisation and circulation of these gigatrailers.

Technical characteristics of duotrailers

Duotrailer trailers are not simply rigid boxes, they are designed to be as efficient as possible and adapted to intermodal transport. Several types of trailers are currently being tested, since, as previously mentioned, they are still in the research phase:

Curtainsider vehicles
Car transport
Refrigerated transport
Dry boxes
Container carriers
Forestry vehicles

Tractor units must meet minimum technical requirements, especially in terms of power, as they have to carry double or more their usual load. These technical requirements must also be adapted to the road conditions and geography of each country, ensuring safety and efficiency in traffic.

Megatrailers, predecessors of duotrailers

For the last five years, megatrailers have been circulating on Spanish roads, with around 900 units of these giant vehicles. They could be considered the predecessors of the duotrailer. Some of the most important companies in the freight transport sector already have mega-trucks in their fleet.

Megatrailers have a length of 25.25 metres and a maximum permissible mass of 60 tonnes. However, they cannot circulate freely and need to apply for a permit from the DGT, in which they must specify and justify their route, as well as the days on which they will make their journeys. It is also necessary to detail the days on which these operations will be carried out.

Advantages of the use of duotrailers

Advantages of the implementation of duotrailers:

-Reduction of CO2 emissions: One of the major benefits of these trucks is their ability to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 30%, which has become an argument in favour of their use.

-Cost reduction: By being able to carry almost twice as much cargo in a single trip, there are significant fuel savings, benefiting all parties involved in the logistics chain. Companies can reduce their costs and pass these savings on to the rates they charge their customers.

-More road space: Studies have shown that duotrailers take up considerably less road space compared to six standard trailers carrying the same amount of goods.

-Fewer accidents on the roads: Logic dictates that the fewer vehicles, or tractor units in this case, on the road, the lower the likelihood of road accidents.

-Solution to the shortage of professional drivers: Given the lack of professional drivers and the lack of interest of young people in this profession, duotrailers, which can carry twice the load with only one driver, represent a viable solution to this problem.

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