If you are wondering how to minimize the number of empty runs made by vehicles belonging to your company make sure they perform the so called rounds or cabotage carriages. What characterizes these types of transport?

Rounds – i.e. round trips

Rounds are a transport system within which drivers are sent from one country to another. After reaching the destination point they unload goods and drive to the point of loading of different goods. With the new load in a truck, they make the return trip. Rounds last no longer than five days.

Considering the fact that according to the European standards established in 2006 a driver can work the maximum of 9 hours per day (whereas this time may be extended by an additional hour twice a week), in most cases, the system allows for making a transport to a neighboring country (for example to Germany) and returning home within less than 5-6 days. By all means, assuming that a driver is not stuck in traffic or does not face any unforeseen situations such as damage to a vehicle.

Why the period of 5-6 days is so important? For a simple reason. As per the above-mentioned standards, after working for 6 consecutive days, a driver is entitled to a week’s rest. Naturally, it is desirable for a transport to reach the point of destination within such a period.

Cabotage – i.e. optimization of carriages

An alternative way to optimize carriages is cabotage transport. It assumes that after delivering goods to the destination point in a different country, a driver receives information about the next route, this time within the same country (different than the country of departure). And the carriage within a country other than the one where a vehicle was registered is called cabotage.

According to the EU provisions (Regulation No. 1072/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council), in order to perform cabotage operations in the case of vehicles whose total weight (including a load) exceeds 3.5 tons, a Community license is required. Additionally, if a driver is not a citizen of the EU Member State they must hold a driver attestation.

According to the provisions, cabotage operations may be launched only following complete unloading of goods transported from abroad, whereas within the same destination country a driver may perform up to three cabotage operations. Importantly – according to the provisions, each loading for whom a separate waybill was issued is considered to be a separate carriage.

What is important is not only a number of cabotage operations but the time period needed for their completion. The last cabotage must be completed at the latest on the seventh calendar day (not a day-night cycle) from unloading of goods transported from a different country.

A case is slightly different if a foreign load was unloaded in an A country, and cabotage operations are to take place within a B country, which is reached by a vehicle without any load. In such a case only one transport of such type is allowed and it must start within three days following the arrival in a B country and end at the latest on the seventh day following the unloading in an A country. However, it still allows for optimization of transport comparing to the situation when a vehicle waits for a return load and does not generate any profits for carriage of goods in the said period.