TDG innovative trailer design case study

TDG’s latest environmental initiative for Tata Steel, which won the 2010 Tata Green award, is trialling an innovative trailer design. It has reduced empty mileage to just 5% per new trailer.

In 2006, Corus (now Tata Steel) and TDG entered into a seven-year contract to provide steel distribution services in the UK through a TDG 4PL platform based at Scunthorpe. Today the platform moves around 1000 loads each day in UK and into Ireland.

TDG manages the hauliers and distribution network for steel products including coils, long sections and wide plate, all with different weight restrictions. Coils alone can weigh up to 20 tonnes.

TDG realised that there was a need for a trailer strategy. It set about creating a trailer specifically designed for steel transport to have two key objectives:

  • to improve load safety by minimising the chance of it shifting
  • to reduce empty mileage by taking a variety of loads at any one time


Three multipurpose trailers (MPTs) were introduced in March 2009 and these were tested physically and operationally for 18 months.

The results speak for themselves:

  • Improved efficiencies through reducing empty mileages – down from 23% to 5%
  • Trailers specifically designed to carry the majority of Tata Steel products
  • Trailers engineered to the latest load restraint guidelines
  • A reduction in CO2 emissions of 430t per trailer/annum

Dr Paul Brooks, Environment Director at Tata Steel, says ‘the TDG platform streamlines deliveries, identifies space capacity and sets optimum routes which, together with MPT initiative, will help Tata Steel cut down on more than a million miles of road transport a year and 500,000 litres of fuel consumption.’