Guidance

Carry perishable foodstuffs abroad in road vehicles (ATP)

Vehicles carrying perishable foodstuffs abroad must follow ATP rules.

Carrying perishable foodstuffs in road vehicles

If you carry perishable foodstuffs abroad in an insulated refrigerated vehicle or container, many countries require you to comply with the Agreement on the international carriage of perishable foodstuffs and special equipment to be used for such carriage (ATP).

If you own or operate a vehicle to transport perishable foodstuffs across international borders between countries that are signatories to ATP, you must have an ATP certificate for that vehicle. Read the provisions of the ATP on the United Nations UNECE website.

Note that non-processed - ie fresh fruit and vegetables are not included within the scope of ATP.

In general, ATP’s provisions prescribe the norms and standards for:

  • preserving the quality of perishable foodstuffs during their international transport - ie are the goods insulated, refrigerated, mechanically refrigerated or heated as appropriate?
  • the special transport equipment required
  • checking that insulation is appropriate and intact
  • distinguishing marks to be affixed to the special equipment
  • the equipment and temperature conditions for deep-frozen and frozen foodstuffs

A new model ATP certificate and a revised index can be downloaded from the UNECE website.

Your vehicle or container must carry a certificate or plate to show that it meets the standards for refrigeration and thermal efficiency laid down in the ATP. Checks on the certificate or plate may be made at borders or inside the countries concerned.

An ATP certificate is issued following an inspection of the vehicle or container by a ‘Designated Station’. In the UK, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), on behalf of the Department for Transport, has approved Cambridge Refrigeration Technology as a ‘designated station’. They are authorised to test, examine, and certify vehicles and containers in accordance with the ATP.

For more information - including a list of ATP member countries, download DVSA’s guide to ATP

Guide to ATP

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Anyone interested in testing and approving transport equipment for ATP purposes - ie becoming an ATP ‘designated station’ should download DVSA’s guide to the authorisation of ATP designated stations and DVSA’s ATP designated station assessment report.

Guide to the authorisation of ATP designated stations

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ATP designated station assessment report

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Applicants should be prepared to meet these authorisation requirements before considering an application.

To apply download DVSA’s designated station application form ATP.

Application for designated station authorisation (ATP1)

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If you use assistive technology (eg a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email gov.uk.publishing@dvsa.gov.uk. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Published 7 February 2013