Glossar Cabotage services

The Cabotage services refer to the provision of a transport service that takes place within a country, whereby the corresponding transport company comes from another EU country.

Example:A transport company is based in France and carries out a transport from Cologne to Düsseldorf.

The regulations of the Cabotage services

In May 2010, the conditions associated with Cabotage services were were redefined. This means that the same regulations apply throughout Europe. These rules state that any company with a registered office in one of the EU member states and a so-called Community licence or EU licence may not only carry out cross-border freight transport, but is also authorised to carry out domestic and cabotage transport.

It is important to note that Cabotage services in another country are only permitted on a temporary basis. Furthermore, transport companies from third countries cannot obtain Community licences. At the same time, this means that these companies do not have any cabotage transport options if they use vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of over 3.5 tonnes.

However, not only the transports requiring authorisation with a total weight of more than 3.5 tonnes are subject to the cabotage regulations in the EU, but also motor vehicles and motor vehicle combinations with a total weight of up to 3.5 tonnes. These include, for example, the currently popular Sprinters with sleeping cabins.

Good to know: There are EU countries that have additional regulations for the Cabotage services . One such country is Austria. In Austria, transport companies are obliged to register cabotage transport in advance, for which special registration forms must be completed.

The transport deadlines

Following an cross-border transport operation, up to three cabotage operations may be carried out with the same vehicle after the goods in question have been unloaded. These must take place within seven days. It does not matter whether the cabotage transport takes place in just one member state or in several member states. In the latter case, however, only one cabotage transport operation may be carried out per Member State, which must now be carried out by the unloaded vehicle within three days of entering the country.