Permits And Licenses For International Delivery Work

One of the most controversial topics in the field of delivery work is relating to companies that operate internationally. While the ability to have goods delivered from anywhere in the world will definitely appeal to customers, certain road haulage entities and companies – especially those with a more national scope – often oppose this practice, claiming international delivery is not only stifling more locally-based practices but also deteriorating the state of roads the world over.

Be that as it may, the practice of international haulage is still very much legal; more than that, it is booming. Still, as this particular niche in the market grows, many drivers find themselves operating semi-illegally, due to a lack of information regarding the licenses and permits necessary to operate as a haulier internationally. This article will provide some information in that regard, as well as contribute to diminish the number of potentially illegal British drivers operating across Europe.

The Standard International Operators’ License

The first and most basic permit drivers seeking to carry out delivery work internationally should obtain is the Standard International Operators’ license. Without this document, a haulier driving a vehicle with a net weight of over 3.5 tonnes will not be allowed to operate, either within the UK or outside it. This license should be coupled with a Certificate of Professional Competence, the other certification needed to work as a haulier, coach or bus driver in the United Kingdom.

Drivers working with hazardous materials will need a special variation of this certificate, called the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road certificate, or ADR for short.

Community Licenses

Community licenses are the other type of license needed to carry out delivery work across the European Union. These licenses are specific and exclusive to the countries that make up the Union, and are not valid outside it. The exception is the four European countries outside the EU but which are still regulated by the European Free Trade Association: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Holders of this type of license will also be allowed to haul loads between two different points within the same adhering country, even if the vehicle is not registered in that country – a practice known as ‘cabotage’.

Community licenses are significantly easier to obtain than SIO’s, and are sent free of charge to all drivers who have obtained the latter.

Bi-Lateral And Multilateral Permits

To carry out delivery work in countries outside the EU, drivers will need to apply for a bi-lateral or multi-lateral road haulage permit. These work on most non-EU countries across the Old Continent, with particular incidence in Eastern Europe, and allow drivers to enter those countries from foreign destinations. Bi-lateral permits are typically valid for return journeys between Britain and a specific adhering country, while multi-lateral permits allow free roam between the 43 adhering nations. These permits are typically obtained through the International Road Freight Office, a division of the Vehicle and Operators Service Agency.

Other Permits

Aside from the major ones detailed above, there are a number of other permits and statuses international hauliers can obtain, which will give them certain perks depending on which document they apply for.

Business owners hauling products from their own company, for instance, may claim ‘own accord’ when travelling from one EU country to another. In this case, they are exempt from a permit. International removal companies may also apply for an ECMT international removal permit, which will allow them to carry out their work across ECMT member countries.

In the end, while the number of permits and licenses might seem overwhelming to the average driver, it all comes down to a question of knowing which one he or she will specifically need to carry out his or her activity beyond UK borders.

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