Trailer Lightweighting


  1. Demonstrated a new lightweight deck which allows for increased payload for weight limited operation.
  2. Identified which operations could benefit from lightweighting.


  1. Double deck trailers in grocery haulage and ‘walking-floor’ trailers in bulk haulage are two operations that can benefit significantly from lightweighting.
  2. A weight saving of 1,000 – 2,000 kg can be achieved on a 13.6 m single deck box trailer through a combination of lightweighting measures:
    Component Weight Saving (kg)
    Optimised chassis beams 200 – 900
    Lightweight sandwich sidewalls 300 – 500
    Lightweight sandwich deck 100 – 200
    Glass fibre running gear 250
    Carbon fibre wheels 150
    TOTAL 1,000 – 2,000
 % Fuel Saving:



A weight saving of 1,000 – 2,000 kg would allow an additional 3 – 6 roll cages to be carried.

Each additional roll cage corresponds to a 1.5% improvement in fuel consumption for a 13.6 m single deck trailer.

 Cost of implementation:

 £ £ 

Raw material cost of a lightweight deck is approx. two times greater than for standard hardwood deck.
 Implementation strategy:
  • Applying lightweight composite materials to trailer subcomponents such as decking and side walls can be implemented in short time frames for a minimal increase in cost.
  • For a long-term solution, more radical changes will be needed to drastically reduce empty trailer weight.
  • Holistic lightweight composite trailers will become increasingly viable as greater emphasis is placed on energy consumption of the road freight industry.


  1. Galos, J. (2014). Design of a Lightweight Road Freight Semi-Trailer. European Transport Conference. Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany, 29 September
  2. Galos, J., et al. (2014), ‘Reducing the Energy Consumption of Heavy Goods Vehicles through the Application of Lightweight Trailers: Fleet Case Studies.’ sub to Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment.
  3. Galos, J., et al. (2014). Design of a Lightweight Heavy Goods Vehicle Trailer. Proceedings of European Transport Conference