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Road hauliers in the EU must have one or more licences. In the Netherlands, you apply for licences from the National and International Road Transport Organisation (Nationale en Internationale Wegvervoer Organisatie, NIWO, in Dutch). The licence you require depends on the destination of the cargo you are transporting.
Having your own transport means you transport freight for your own company. You do not need a permit to do so. You must, however, be able to demonstrate that you are transporting your own goods. In countries outside the EU, you may sometimes need a journey authorisation.
Transport within the EU
A Euro licence is compulsory for:
- commercial goods transport in the Netherlands for freight vehicles with a load-bearing capacity exceeding 500 kg.
- cross-border commercial goods transport within the EU involving freight vehicles with a maximum permitted weight exceeding 3500 kg.
Transport outside the EU
In most cases, transport outside the EU also requires a journey authorisation or an ECMT permit in addition to a Euro licence. With an ECMT permit, you can transport goods from, to and via countries that are party to the European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) agreement, provided you comply with the ECMT’s emission and safety requirements.
If you hire non-EU lorry drivers, they are only allowed to drive your lorries if they have a driver's attestation issued by the Dutch National and International Road Transport Organisation (NIWO). To be able to apply for the attestation (in Dutch), they need a valid work permit and a driver's certificate of professional competence.
If a transport company from an EU member state transports goods between 2 points within the borders of another Member State, this will constitute cabotage. Carriers may undertake no more than 3 cabotage trips in another country. After that, they have to cross the border again. In the Netherlands, the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (Inspectie Leefomgeving en Transport, ILT) enforces this rule.
Dispensation abnormal load
In the Netherlands, an 'abnormal load' is a vehicle that is heavier and larger than normally allowed by law. If you are responsible for transporting an abnormal load, you must apply for dispensation to the Netherlands Vehicle Authority (RDW, in Dutch), of which there are 3 types. The General Terms and Conditions for Exceptional Transport (pdf) are often applied to abnormal loads in the Netherlands. The AVET stipulates obligations and liabilities for both the carrier and the sender.
ATP test for refrigerator trucks
If you plan to transport perishable goods abroad using an insulated refrigerated vehicle, a so-called ATP test (pdf, in Dutch) carried out by RDW is compulsory. Following this inspection an ATP certificate is issued .