Review of trucks used in international freight transportation

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In Europe trucks of seven different manufacturers are used:

All of the above companies have their own all-European sales and maintenance networks. There are other manufacturers of heavy* trucks that operate in local markets but do not have a Europe-wide network, which in turn makes operating in international transportation risky.

* Trucks with a full weight of over 16 tons are classified as heavy trucks.

  • Heavy trucks
  • Containers
Bolster-type truck with a semi-trailer
A bolster-type truck usually has a bridge combination of 4x2 and the semi-trailer has 3 bridges. Such combination is designed for a full weight of 40 tons, which is valid in most European countries. Among semi-trailers, tent trailers with aluminum ribs, tent trailers with 'curtain sliders' and without ribs, isothermal refrigerator trailers, container trailers, articulated trailers, tilting trailers and cistern trailers are used
All the above semi-trailers have different models, depending on the nature of work

Truck with van built on the chassis and a full trailer
Truck with a chassis bridge formula 6x2, 4x2 or 6x4 (singles) and a full trailer with 2 or 3 bridges. 
The same possibilities apply as for a semi-trailer.

Truck with van built on the chassis and a centre axis trailer

Truck, chassis 6x2 and trailer with 2 bridges (Euro truck train). Lately, this has become a very popular combination all over Europe. It enables transport of 38 EUR pallets. All lengths are strictly stipulated by European law. Total length from the nose of the truck to the rear point of the trailer is 18,75 metres. Distance from the rear point of the cabin to the rear point of the trailer is 16, 4 metres. Length of the cargo space, length of the truck's van + the trailer's van is 15,65 metres.

Certificates required for heavy trucks

Heavy trucks today should definitely meet the 'Safe truck' norms. Conformity with the norms provides an advantage in obtaining transportation permits and in passing through some of the European countries.

Semi-trailers and full trailers participating in international transportation must also meet the 'greener and safe' lorry regulations. Only a truck meeting the S-requirements together with a trailer meeting the same requirements is able to apply for the S-certificate.

In case of a new truck supplied from the factory, the S-certificate is issued either directly from the factory or by the representative of the factory and it is valid for a period of one year. It is possible to obtain the certificate from the technical department of the Estonian Motor Vehicle Registration Centre (ARK) but prior to that an inspection is to be conducted at the inspection point prescribed by the Registration Centre. Further extensions of the certificate are only obtained through ARK.

Inspection: existence of the manufacturer's certificate and its conformity with factory marking of the vehicle, engine number of the vehicle and manufacturer's label. Order of other parts and systems of the vehicle are inspected according to methods stipulated for inspecting a part or a system as per this regulation, at prescribed inspection points of ARK.

Information can be obtained from the Tallinn Office of ARK at Mäealuse 19, Tallinn.

Container transportation


20 ft container:
length 5,89 x height 2,43 x width 2,39 metres  



40 ft container:
length 12 x height 2,34 x width 2,39 metres