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Joint rules on access to the EU road haulage market



Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009 on common rules for access to the international road haulage market


Although international road transport operations* have been fully liberalised within the EU, cabotage*, national road transport within an EU Member State by hauliers not resident in that Member State, is still subject to restrictions.

Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009 therefore lays down:

  • common rules applicable to access to the market in the international carriage of goods* by road within the EU;
  • conditions under which non-resident hauliers may operate transport services within a Member State.

Amending Regulation (EU) 2020/1055 aims to:

  • update the rules on road transport operators in order to combat letter-box companies* and unfair competition;
  • extend the rules on cabotage in Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009 to prevent their abuse.


Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009

Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009 applies to:

  • the international carriage of goods by road for hire or reward* for journeys carried out within the EU;
  • the national carriage of goods by road carried out temporarily by a non-resident haulier;
  • the part of the journey that takes place in the territory of any Member State in transit, where the carriage takes place between a Member State and a non-EU country — it does not apply to the part of the journey in the Member State of loading or unloading.

To carry out international carriage, a haulier must possess a Community licence and, if the driver is a non-EU national, a driver attestation as well.

Community licence

This licence is:

  • issued by the competent authorities of the Member State of establishment to any haulier who is entitled to carry out the international carriage of goods by road for hire or reward;
  • renewable for a period of up to 10 years;
  • issued in the name of the haulier and is non-transferable.

Driver attestation

A driver attestation is:

  • issued by the competent authorities of the Member State in which the haulier holding an EU licence is based who uses or employs a driver in that Member State who is neither an EU national nor a long-term resident;
  • valid for a period of up to 5 years.

If these conditions are not met, the same authorities can reject an application for the issue or renewal of a licence or the issue of an attestation. If the holder of either a Community licence or driver attestation no longer satisfies the conditions or has supplied incorrect information, the licence or attestation is withdrawn.

Cabotage operations

Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009 imposes strict regulations on cabotage operations, in particular:

  • any haulier for hire or reward who is a Community licence holder and whose driver, if a non-EU national, holds a driver attestation, is entitled to carry out cabotage operations in a Member State (other than the one in which it is established) on a temporary basis following an international operation into that country;
  • after the goods concerned in the international carriage have been delivered, the hauliers have 7 days in which they may undertake up to 3 cabotage operations;
  • 3 cabotage operations may also be carried out in any other Member State following an international carriage, with a limit of 1 operation per country.

The above regulations only apply if the haulier can produce proof of the international carriage of goods into the Member State concerned as well as proof of each consecutive cabotage operation undertaken.

Cabotage operations are subject to national legislation in the host Member State regarding the:

  • conditions governing the transport contract;
  • weights and dimensions of road vehicles;
  • requirements concerning the carriage of certain categories of goods, in particular dangerous goods, perishable food items and live animals;
  • driving time and rest periods;
  • value added tax on transport services.

The above rules apply equally to non-resident hauliers and to hauliers established in the host Member State.


Where a haulier infringes EU road transport legislation:

  • the competent authorities of the Member State of establishment may issue a warning or impose administrative penalties such as withdrawing the Community licence;
  • if the haulier is a non-resident, the Member State in which the infringement took place will inform the competent authority in the haulier’s country of establishment describing the infringement and the penalties imposed.

All serious infringements must be recorded in the national electronic register of road transport companies.

Amending Regulation (EU) 2020/1055

The main changes introduced to Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009 by amending Regulation (EU) 2020/1055 include:

  • requirements for access to the profession are to become mandatory for operators using light commercial vehicles in international transport, that is:
    • motor vehicles or combinations of vehicles intended exclusively for carrying goods,
    • with a permissible laden mass of more than 2.5 tonnes but not more than 3.5 tonnes;
  • inspections to be carried out at hauliers’ premises by Member States’ national authorities. Those authorities must organise a minimum number of checks on cabotage and at least 2 concerted roadside checks per year;
  • a transitional period of 4 days to be introduced, before which no new cabotage operations may be carried out in the same country and with the same vehicle, to prevent systematic cabotage;
  • rules to be introduced by Member States on sanctions against consignors, freight forwarders, contractors and subcontractors for non-compliance, where they knew, or, in the circumstances should have known, that the transport services that they commissioned infringed this regulation.


  • Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009 has applied since 4 December 2011, with the exception of Articles 8 and 9 (rules concerning cabotage operations), which have applied since 14 May 2010.
  • Amending Regulation (EU) 2020/1055 applies from 21 February 2022.


For more information, see:


Road transport operation: the entire journey of goods by road to their final destination.
Cabotage: where a haulier registered in one EU country carries out national transport in another EU country.
Carriage of goods: the act of carrying and transporting goods.
Letter-box companies: companies which have been set up with the purpose of benefiting from legislative loopholes while not themselves providing any service to clients, but rather provide a front for services provided by their owners (European Commission in COM(2013) 122 final).
Hire or reward: the carriage for payment, of persons or goods, on behalf of third parties.


Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 on common rules for access to the international road haulage market (recast) (OJ L 300, 14.11.2009, pp. 72-87)

Successive amendments to Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.


Regulation (EU) 2020/1055 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 July 2020 amending Regulations (EC) No 1071/2009, (EC) No 1072/2009 and (EU) No 1024/2012 with a view to adapting them to developments in the road transport sector (OJ L 249, 31.7.2020, pp. 17-32)

last update 19.11.2020