Road haulage is the transport of goods by motor vehicles with a permissible total weight of more than 3.5 tons, including trailers, for business purposes or in return for payment.
Commercial road haulage is generally subject to licensing. A permit is not required for so-called own-account transport, i.e. road haulage for a company's own purposes. Own-account transport does not require a permit if
- the transported goods are the property of the entrepreneur or have been sold, purchased, rented, leased, manufactured, produced, extracted, processed or repaired by him,
- the carriage serves the purpose of delivery of the goods to the enterprise, their dispatch from the enterprise, their transfer within the enterprise or for the enterprise's own use outside the enterprise,
- the motor vehicles used for the transport are driven by the company's own personnel or by personnel made available to the company under a contractual obligation, and
- because the transport is only an auxiliary activity within the overall activity of the company.
If the goods are only transported in Germany, you need a permit for motor vehicles over 3.5 tons (in accordance with § 3 of the Road Haulage Act). The permit for national commercial road haulage can be issued for a limited period, subject to conditions or with requirements. The permit can be issued for a period of validity of up to 10 years.
However, if you want to transport goods across borders with motor vehicles over 2.5 tons, you need a so-called community license. For cross-border journeys with motor vehicles over 2.5 tons within the European Union, the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, a Community license is required (EU license) and, if necessary, a driver's certificate for nationals of a third country.
For commercial road haulage with states outside the European Economic Area, in addition to the national permit for the German route portion (commercial road haulage permit or community license), you need bilateral permits or so-called CEMT permits for route portions in the third countries.
If you are driving into or through Switzerland as part of commercial road haulage, you need a valid Community license.
The national permit is granted to an entrepreneur whose company is actually and permanently established in the country, if
- the entrepreneur and the person appointed to manage the road haulage business (transport manager) are reliable,
- the financial capacity of the company is guaranteed, and
- the entrepreneur or the person appointed to manage the road haulage business is professionally suitable.
The company requires equity capital plus reserves. The amount of capital is determined by the number of vehicles intended for use. For the first vehicle, the entrepreneur requires equity capital in the amount of EUR 9,000, for each additional vehicle EUR 5,000. This also applies to the use of rental vehicles.
A person is technically qualified if he or she has passed a technical qualification examination. All final examinations previously recognized as equivalent shall continue to be considered equivalent if they were started or completed before December 4, 2011.
Persons who have worked continuously (for at least ten years) in a road haulage company in a managerial capacity between December 4, 1999 and December 4, 2009 are also considered to be professionally qualified.
A Community license for international road haulage is issued if
- the entrepreneur and the transport manager are reliable
- the financial capacity of the company is guaranteed, and
- the entrepreneur or the transport manager is professionally suitable.
The entrepreneur must also prove capital and reserves in the case of international road haulage with motor vehicles over 2.5 tons.
The following applies:
- 9 000 EUR for the first vehicle used
- 5 000 EUR for each additional vehicle used over 3.5 tons
- 900 EUR for each additional vehicle used over 2.5 tons (up to 3.5 tons)
However, if you intend to perform only international carriage of goods with vehicles from 2.5 tons to 3.5 tons, you must pay
- 1 800 EUR for the first vehicle used and
- 900 EUR for each additional vehicle used.
You must also provide proof of professional qualification for cross-border road haulage. This also applies if you want to use vehicles with 2.5 tons only. Here, too, professional qualification may be given if it can be proven that you or the transport manager have worked in a road haulage company in a managerial capacity without interruption for a period of ten years prior to August 20, 2020.
You must apply for the national road haulage permit or the Community license (EU license) at the transport authority responsible for your place of business.
You can obtain the application form from the competent transport authority. Depending on what the authority offers, online services are also available.
Complete the application in full and submit it with the required documents.
The competent transport authority will give the following bodies the opportunity to comment:
- the Federal Office for Goods Transport,
- the Chamber of Industry and Commerce
- the relevant trade union, and
- the association of the transport industry.
After the deadline for comments has expired, the competent transport authority will decide on your application. You will receive a decision.
- A CEMT permit is required for international commercial road haulage and removal traffic within the community of CEMT member states (more than 30 states in Europe).
-> responsible for issuing it is the Federal Office for Goods Transport, Werderstraße 34, 50672 Cologne, Tel.: 0221/57 76-0, Fax: 0221/57 76-1777, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- A bilateral permit is required for international road haulage with third countries.
-> responsible for a large part of the countries is the Government of the Upper Palatinate, Emmeramsplatz 8/9, 93047 Regensburg, Tel.: 0941/56 80-0, Fax: 0941/56 80-188.
If road haulage for own purposes of the company is permitted, the entrepreneur who operates road haulage for own purposes is obliged to register his company with the Federal Office for Goods Transport, Werderstraße 34, 50672 Cologne, before starting the first transport.