International road haulage: jobs inside an EU country or between EU countries

Check the rules on how many international road haulage jobs you can do inside an EU country (cabotage) or between EU countries (cross-trade).

If you’re a UK goods vehicle operator (haulier) working in the EU, you need both of the following:

You can carry out a limited number of cabotage and cross-trade jobs in an EU country if you’re a UK haulier with an UK Licence for the Community. The jobs must follow a journey where goods were transported from the UK.

Cabotage and cross-trade


Cabotage is loading and unloading goods within one country, with a vehicle registered in another country.


Cross-trade is loading goods in one country and unloading them in another country, with a vehicle registered in a third, different country.

When and where UK hauliers can carry out cabotage and cross-trade jobs

You can carry out up to 2 haulage jobs within the EU after dropping off goods from the UK. Only one of the jobs can be cabotage. You must complete the cabotage job:

  • within 7 days of dropping off the goods you brought from the UK
  • in the same EU country where you dropped off the goods from the UK

If you’re transporting your own goods (also called ‘own account’ journeys), you need to follow the cabotage and cross-trade rules in EU countries unless you’re:

  • driving an empty trailer from one EU country to another
  • dropping off goods in the EU that you’re transporting from the UK
  • picking up goods in the EU and dropping them off in the UK
  • transporting goods for a non-commercial purpose

If you are carrying out jobs in Ireland

You can carry out up to 2 cabotage jobs in Ireland if both of the following apply:

  • you are registered as a goods vehicle operator in Northern Ireland
  • you have travelled from Northern Ireland

Both cabotage jobs must be completed within 7 days of dropping off the goods you brought into Ireland.

If you have a European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) permit

You can carry out one additional cross-trade job (3 haulage jobs in total) before returning to the UK if you have an ECMT permit.

Find out about ECMT permits.

You may have to register for and pay VAT in the country where the journey took place.

Your right to carry out cabotage or cross-trade jobs may be removed temporarily or permanently if you breach safety rules.

Declare you’re doing cabotage or cross-trade jobs

You must declare that you’ll be doing cabotage or cross-trade jobs on an EU portal. Declaring the details of the job is known as making a ‘posting declaration’.

You will get penalties if you do not make a declaration.

Declare you’re transporting goods inside the EU.

Documents you need for cabotage jobs

When you’re carrying out cabotage jobs in the EU you must have documents with you to show the following:

  • the name, address and signature of the sender and haulier
  • the place and the date you picked up the goods
  • the place you are delivering to
  • the name, address and signature of the international consignee with the date of delivery
  • a description of the goods, the method of packing, the number of packages and their special marks or numbers
  • the gross mass of the goods or their quantity
  • the number plates of the vehicle and trailer

Your driver also needs the usual:

Published 2 February 2022