Road freight deliveries are known for being timely, cost-effective and suitable for a wide variety of businesses. Whether you’re shipping nationally or internationally, having products delivered by road offers a host of benefits. When you’re first starting out, however, it can be a confusing mix of legal documents and requirements. That’s why we’ve written the Radius Warehouse and Logistic Services comprehensive guide to road freight regulations.

What are the rules and regulations?

As all UK drivers will know, there are certain documents and certificates needed to use our roads. And, this is just the same for both national and international road freight. In order to ensure health and safety requirements are met, those using this service are required to ensure that all legal documentation is up to date and available to present when needed. Both the driver and the vehicle used will need different forms to ensure safe and efficient travel when driving internationally.

Required Drivers Documents

If you work with a freight forwarding business, they will take care of the legal aspect of road freight shipments. However, it is good to have an understanding of the documents that are required so you can enquire about them when finding the right company. The documents that a drive required for international road freight services include:

  • The right category of driving license for the vehicle that is being driven.
  • A Driver CPC qualification. Also known as the Certificate of Professional Competency, this is a set of standards which are designed to make sure international drivers are competent and regularly trained on road safety. It has been developed by the EU to improve overall safety and is required for all professional lorry drivers operating a vehicle over 3.5 tonnes. Once the driver has passed their CPC qualification, they are issued with a card as evidence.
  • For vehicles travelling through or to non-EU countries, an international permit may be required. The requirement for a permit depends on the size of the vehicle and the goods that are being delivered. More information on this can be found on the website.
  • A valid passport.
  • An international visa if travelling outside of EU countries.
  • Insurance and medical documents.
  • Cabotage documents. This is the haulage of goods between 2 points in a country with a vehicle that is not registered in said country. The documents required need to include information about the place and date of ownership, designated delivery point, address and signature of international consignee, description of goods, method of packing, no. packages.
  • Information about fuel duty and value added tax in reference to buying motor fuel.

It is also important to note that, by EU law, there are rules dictating how many hours an international driver can work in relation to his breaks. A short overview of this is:

  • Drivers can drive for up to 9 hours a day.
  • Drivers can drive for up to 10 hours a day on 2 days per week.
  • Drivers must not exceed 56 hours of driving per week.
  • Drivers must not exceed 90 hours of driving in 2 consecutive weeks.

All driving must be recorded on a tachograph that is checked regularly.

Required Vehicle Documents

As well as the drive, it is important that the right legal documents accompany the vehicle in use as it travels across countries. Again, we’ll focus on the requirements for road freight within the EU but we recommend researching for other countries.

The documents that international road freight vehicles should have includes:

  • A vehicle registration certification (also known as a V5C log book).
  • All relevant insurance documents. The only exception here is a cover note that explains the reason for a break in insurance.
  • A goods vehicle operators license identification disc clearly displayed on the dashboard.
  • An EU Community License. This is a single permit that covers trips between all EU countries and allows you to travel through.
  • MOT. As is true here in the UK, international road haulage vehicles must have an up-to-date MOT and full service.
  • A GB sticker on the license plate or Euro-plates.
  • ECMT International Road Haulage permit. These allow you to travel through European Conference of Ministers of Transport member countries while abiding by the rules.
  • Bilateral Road Haulage Permits. These are required for several non-European countries with which the bilateral agreement has been made. This includes Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Morocco, the Russian Federation, Tunisia and Ukraine.

Vehicle Weight

Another thing to consider is the change in weight a vehicle undergoes when it has been loaded for international delivery. You need to ensure that, not only is the vehicle safe to drive with the extra weight but that it abides by any relevant regulations. To do this, make sure you know the GTW (gross train weight) or maximum plated weight of your vehicle once loaded. Regulations to consider here in the UK and across Europe include:

  • The maximum GTW for UK-registered articulated tractors, trailers or rigid vehicles is 44,000 kilograms. This covers all 3-axle articulated tractors and vehicles with 3+ axles).
  • These vehicles must be fitted with a minimum Euro 2 engine.
  • The drive-axle weight of a vehicle must be no more than 10,5000 kilograms.
  • Road-friendly suspension, if required on the rear-axle, must not exceed 8,500 kilograms.
  • Trailers must have at least 3 axles and be fitted with road-friendly suspension.
  • Vehicles with Euro-2 engines must have a ‘green plate’.

Entrust a reliable freight forwarding company with your international road freight shipments

Understanding the laws of the road becomes more complex as you venture out of the EU. Here, the rules differ depending on the country and have the potential to change without warning. Therefore, it is important that you have the right, knowledgeable support to help your business continue to grow through the complexities. Here at Radius Warehouse and Logistic Services, we have the experience to ensure your goods get from A-to-B safety, in a time efficient manner and in the same condition they arrived. Get in contact today or request a quote from our website.