The Essential Knowledge for International Road Haulage

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If you’re a haulier in the UK, chances are sometimes your transport contracts require you to travel internationally. This can be quite exciting – it’s an excuse to go abroad, after all. However, it can also be a little confusing. There are so many specific rules, regulations and requirements that it can be difficult to remember them all.

Read on for an overview of some of the essentials of international road haulage.

Required Documentation

Here are some of the documents you may need if you are leaving the country, especially if the vehicle you are driving is registered in the UK. Be prepared to show them at any time.

•A visa (if you have a UK or EU passport, you will only need a visa if you’re travelling outside of the EU)
•A passport
•An international driving permit
•A driver’s license
•A goods vehicle operator’s license
•Insurance (both for yourself and for your vehicle)
•Vehicle registration

Weigh Before You Get on Your Way

If one of your transport contracts is taking you abroad, you should be aware of certain international weight requirements.

•Vehicle Weight Limit – The total weight of your tractor, trailer and load combined should be no more than 44,000 kilograms.
•Gross Plated Weight – Your loaded vehicle (i.e. your trailer) should be 10,500 kilograms or less.

Don’t Let Cabotage Sabotage You

Are you planning to pick up some transport contracts while you’re abroad? That’s what the term cabotage means – the transportation of goods between two points in the same country by a haulier who has not been registered in said country. You must have the following documented information if you wish to undertake cabotage:

•The trailer and vehicle’s number plates
•The haulier and sender’s signature, name and address
•The name and address of the international consignee, along with a signature and date of delivery
•The place and date the goods will be picked up
•The place and date the goods will be delivered
•A description of the packing method, the goods themselves (including any special numbers or marks) and number of packages
•The gross mass of the goods.

Tachographs and Drivers’ Hours

Anyone travelling internationally and driving a goods vehicle over 3.5 tonnes must make sure they have researched and are complying with the EU rules on tachographs and drivers’ hours. If asked, they should be able to immediately produce the following:

•A driver’s digital smart card (if you have one)
•Tachograph charts
•Any legally required manual records for the current day AND the previous 28 days (if you have been sick, on holiday or have otherwise taken leave it is important that you have a letter of confirmation from your employer).

Travelling internationally for your transport contracts can be exciting and, for many, something that’s a little out of the norm. However, it’s important to make sure you’ve done your research before you drive over the border. Be prepared and ensure you are aware of any documents you may need and which laws are different than the ones in the UK. Informed international travel is the best – and safest – kind.

Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching transport contracts with available drivers. Over 5,400 member companies are networked together through the Exchange to fill empty capacity, get new clients and form long-lasting business relationships. 

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