The vote follows another vote in favour of the changes last month by the Transport and Tourism (TRAN) Committee of the European Parliament that approved setting a minimum allowable loading length at 20.75 metres, in contrast to the current patchwork of lengths allowed currently.
For the change to become law, it would next have to be passed by the council of transport ministers across the EU's 28 member states.
The Association of European Vehicle Logistics (ECG), which has lobbied for the change, welcomed the decision, pointing to greater standardisation and fewer problems associated with border control limits in different EU countries.
The existing directive does not differentiate finished vehicle transporters from any other heavy goods vehicle, which is why the revision of is so critical to vehicle logistics, the ECG has said. With a higher loaded minimum, car carriers will potentially be able to load more vehicles per truck, particularly for transport between member states.
Mike Sturgeon, executive director of ECG, commented: “Our association is fully aware that the stakes are high and go beyond vehicle transporters. However the harmonisation of their minimum loaded length will have two very powerful impacts: building a truly internal market for vehicle transportation while delivering the objectives of the Transport White Paper.
“The EU prides itself on being the largest, most sophisticated single market on Earth. The Parliament’s vote has demonstrated that the harmonisation of loaded lengths for car transporters is well within the reach of EU lawmakers. MEPs’ efforts will reduce the number of trucks on the road as well as decrease emissions, congestion, and accidents. ECG hopes that the Transport Council will pay attention to this very clear signal sent by the more than 90% of MEPs who supported the amendments from the TRAN Committee which include a clarification for vehicle transporters.”