44-ton trucks between Belgium and France

ESC welcomes the findings of an analysis of the French Institute of International Transport Law (IDIT) on potential border crossing of 44-ton trucks between France and Belgium. For ESC, a more flexible approach to border crossing between neighbouring countries allowing 44 tons would be essential.

According to the current directive in force, Directive 96/53/EC of 25 July 1996, for certain road vehicles driving in Europe, the dimensions and weight authorized in national and international traffic for heavy goods vehicles (HGV) are 18,25m long and weighing 40 tons maximum to cross borders of Member States.

But some countries allow longer and heavier lorries on their national territory like Finland, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. In contrast, countries like Austria, Poland, Baltic states etc are strongly against longer and heavier trucks.

For many years, a burning question has been whether the border crossing (for instance between France and Belgium) is limited to 40-ton trucks although both countries accept heavier trucks nationally. The Directive itself does not give any indication. Both, Belgian Road Haulage Association (UPTR) and IDIT, have been looking into this issue providing explanation and guidance. Though, no legal document has been issued until recently.

The Walloon Region endorsed the position of UPTR and IDIT stating that “if Belgium, like France, on its own territory, allows transport with trucks up to 44 tonnes / 5 axles, it is self-evident that cross-border transport up to 44 tonnes between these two countries is also allowed”.