Speed and weight limits, working hours and environmental concerns can all have an impact on international haulage business routes.
The fastest way to cover the distance across the Channel is nowadays by The Eurotunnel and it takes only 35 minutes. More than 20 million trucks have been transported on board the Truck Shuttles since the service started in 1994, i.e. the equivalent of more than 260 million tones of transported goods. However, no matter how precious the time is these days, sometimes you need a time off, especially if you are a HGV driver and your working and resting time is precisely defined by various regulations.
The slowest way to cover the distance across the Channel for a HGV is by ferry, but this way of travelling has several advantages for a lorry driver. One of them is using the sea voyage to take his rest required by Regulation (EC) 561/2006 .
Remember: During a Ferry Crossing / Transport by Train, a Full Daily Rest Period of 11 Hours can be interrupted twice for a total of no more than 1 Hour. This ruling means that a ferry crossing of less than 11 hours can be used as part of a Full Daily rest with half an hour being allowed for driving onto and driving off of the Ferry. A sleeping area must be available at all times throughout the Rest period.
Table: List of main harbors and possible freight crossings between UK and the Continent together with approximate time of crossing. ( Green highlights the crossings which can be used for Rest Periods.)
|FROM||TO||Approximate time of crossing|
|Hook of Holland||Harwich||6h30 daytime
|Hoek van Holland||Killingholme||10h|
While planning your route and working/rest hours remember that you can usually board the ferry 1-2 hours before departure and that the time of crossing may vary from the above from operator to operator. So it is advisable to contact the ferry service provider to assist you in planning your journey.
Advantages of using a ferry service on your journey include:
Travel time incorporating driver’s rest period
Savings in running costs – fuel and road tax, truck wear and tear
Freedom from truck transit restrictions
Avoiding traffic jams and queues at truck control sites
Decreased risk of traffic accidents
Smaller pollution emissions
Better planning of travel and delivery time