Commercial Truck Insurance For High Risk Drivers

Commercial Truck Insurance For High Risk Drivers
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Haulage Transport :Moving goods by road

Haulage Transport :Moving goods by road

Aimed at importers and exporters, this guide outlines the different kinds of road vehicles used for transporting goods. It highlights the key documents you need to be familiar with and provides an overview of insurance and licensing requirements.
Find out more about moving your goods in our sections on preparing goods for transport and transporting your goods.
The different road haulage vehicles
In the UK, with some exceptions, the maximum vehicle weight is 44 tonnes gross (truck, fuel and load) and has up to six sets of axles. Most foreign vehicles coming to the UK have two axles on the tractor and three on the trailer, which limits them to a weight of 40 tonnes both here and in their home state. The maximum individual truck length is 12 metres, articulated truck and trailer length is 16.5 metres and road trains are allowed up to 18.75 metres. The maximum width for all is 2.55 metres.
The main vehicles used to transport goods by road are Articulated Lorries (Artics). These consist of a prime mover with no significant load-carrying area, but with a turn-table device which can be linked to a trailer. With or without a trailer, the Gross Combination Mass – the combined prime mover and trailer – must exceed 3.5 tonnes. Artics have different types of trailers, including:
•    Flatbed trailer – used for almost any kind of cargo, but goods need to be protected from the elements and theft.
•    Tilt trailer – like a flatbed trailer, but with a removable PVC canopy.
•    Curtain-sider – the mainstay of road haulage, this has a rigid roof and rear doors. The sides are PVC curtains that can be drawn back for easy loading.
•    Box trailer – an entirely rigid unit, with loading through back doors. A secure option for valuable goods.
•    Road train – a rigid vehicle at the front, which pulls a trailer behind it.
•    Swap-body system – built to accommodate standard cargo containers. Allows containers to be swiftly transferred during intermodal transport.
•    Low-loaders – often used for transporting heavy machinery and other outsize goods. Set low to the ground for easy loading.
Vans are frequently used to transport smaller cargoes shorter distances.
While goods are being transported, drivers are responsible for the security of goods and compliance with weight and similar restrictions. Traders are responsible for providing adequate dunnage (protective wrapping) to protect and stabilise the goods and for any damage caused to the vehicle while being loaded if they are the party actually loading the vehicle.
The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) Programme will oblige fuel suppliers to make sure that a certain percentage of their sales is made up of biofuels. Read about RTFO on the Department for Transport (DfT) website – Opens in a new window.
The CMR note: the key road transport document
This page explains how the standard contract of carriage for goods being transported internationally by road – the CMR note – works, and how to fulfil your responsibilities in completing it.
What the CMR note is
The CMR note is a consignment note that confirms that the carrier (ie the road haulage company) has received the goods and that a contract of carriage exists between the trader and the carrier. Unlike a bill of lading, a CMR is not a document of title nor a declaration, although some states regard it as such. It does not necessarily give its holder and/or the carrier rights of ownership or possession of the goods.
How to complete the CMR note
You can fill in the CMR yourself, or you can have a freight forwarder or the carrier do it for you. However, you remain responsible for the accuracy of its contents.
A range of information needs to be covered in the CMR note, including:
•    The date and place at which the CMR note has been completed.
•    The name and address of sender, carrier and consignee (the person to whom the goods are going).
•    A description of the goods and their method of packing. The description should be acceptable to the consignor and consignee. For security reasons, you do not always want the carrier to be able to identify valuable goods.
•    The weight of the goods.
•    Any charges related to the goods, such as customs duties or carriage charges.
•    Instructions for customs and any other formalities.
This list is not comprehensive. For full details you can download a copy of the CMR Convention from the UNECE website (PDF) – Opens in a new window.
Generally there will be three copies of a CMR note. One will be kept by the trader and another by the carrier, while the third will travel with the goods all the way to their final destination.
While the carrier is liable for any loss, damage or delay to a consignment until it is delivered, the trader is responsible for any loss or damage the carrier suffers resulting from incorrect details having been provided in the CMR note.
Other documentation issues for transport by road
If you transport goods by road, you need to be aware of the CMR note, the Forwarders’ Certificate of Receipt, the TIR system and forthcoming legislation changes.
CMR note
This is the main document you’ll need to deal with when transporting by road – see the page in this guide on the CMR note: the key road transport document.
Forwarders’ certificate of receipt (FCR)
Increasingly, international trade journeys are intermodal, with freight forwarders playing a crucial coordinating role. Much road freight is organised in this way.
‘Forwarders’ documents’ have been designed for these kinds of transactions. The FCR provides proof that a forwarder has accepted your goods with irrevocable instructions to deliver them to the consignee indicated on the FCR.
Using an FCR can speed up payment. For example, if you’re selling overseas and your contract with the buyer states that the goods are collected from the factory and the buyer is responsible for arranging the freight, an FCR can be issued when your buyer’s forwarder collects goods.
You can then present the FCR for payment, rather than having to wait until a non-negotiable or negotiable transport document (the proof of the goods having been loaded onto the transport conveyance for the main international carriage, if any) is issued, which may be some time later.
While an FCR is non-negotiable, another similar document, the Forwarders’ Certificate of Transport, is negotiable. This means that the forwarder accepts responsibility to deliver to a destination you specify – not to an unchangeable destination as with the FCR.
The TIR system
This allows vehicles to cross numerous borders without repeated customs checks. Goods are checked and sealed at the outset, and the vehicle is then waved through by customs authorities until it reaches its final destination. Traders must set up a security bond with the Road Haulage Association or the Freight Transport Association. The system is currently being revised to include a new requirement for a safety and security/transit declaration along with revised procedures for handling transit enquiries.
All traders moving goods across the EU under TIR are now required to submit an electronic customs declaration using the New Computerised Transit System (NCTS). Find guidance on using TIR and NCTS on the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) website – Opens in a new window.
TIR doesn’t apply to journeys within the European Union (EU) because there are no customs checks for EU-only journeys.
Transporting dangerous goods by road
This page explains the procedures you must comply with for carrying dangerous goods by road.
You may see two different terms used to refer to these rules – ADR and the Carriage Regulations – but both refer to the same provisions. ADR is a Europe-wide code on dangerous goods, while the Carriage Regulations translate that code into UK legislation. The Carriage Regulations also apply to the transport of goods by rail – see our guide on moving goods by rail.
The regulations apply to carriers and traders. Traders are often asked to produce the dangerous goods declaration and supporting documents (such as vehicle documentation, safety and accident reporting) and to ensure the goods are suitably packaged and labelled. Traders must also comply with two key sets of duties – classification and packaging.
Any dangerous goods you’re transporting must be marked with their name, description and United Nations (UN) number.
UN classification groups for dangerous goods
UN Class     Dangerous Goods       Classification
1    Explosives    Explosive
2    Gases    
Flammable gas
Non-flammable, non-toxic gas
Toxic gas
3    Flammable liquid    Flammable liquid
4    Flammable solids    
Flammable solid
Spontaneously combustible substance
Substance which emits flammable gas in contact with water
5    Oxidising substances    
Oxidising substance
Organic peroxide
6    Toxic substances    
Toxic substance
Infectious substance
7    Radioactive material    Radioactive material
8    Corrosive substances    Corrosive substance
9    Miscellaneous dangerous goods    Miscellaneous dangerous goods
Certain goods are prohibited from transport by road, eg, UN Class 3 goods likely to produce peroxides.
You must ensure that a qualified Dangerous Goods Safety Adviser has checked that your goods are handled and packaged correctly. Drivers of dangerous loads will need to hold an ADR training certificate, unless they are transporting small loads.
The goods must be well packed to withstand the disruption and movement you’d expect during transit. You must also check that your export packaging is clearly marked with the UN classification number from the table above and with the safety labels appropriate to that class of goods. You’re responsible for checking that your carrier’s vehicles clearly show they’ll be carrying dangerous goods.
A shipper is legally obliged to make a declaration of the danger or hazard of the goods being transported. For the movement of dangerous goods by sea, inland waterways, road and rail, the shipper can fulfil this requirement by completing a SITPRO Dangerous Goods Note (DGN); for air, the correct documentation is the International Air Transport Association Shipper’s Declaration of Dangerous Goods. However, the shipper can design, prepare and present a bespoke or ‘in-house’ document for the surface modes (roads or rail) provided it contains the mandatory information. Some chemical and automotive companies have done this to accommodate specific business processes, such as the need for landscape (instead of a portrait) documentation.
Security regulations require any business involved in the transport of dangerous goods to:
•    only offer the goods to appropriate carriers
•    make sites that temporarily store dangerous goods secure
•    have a security awareness training programme in place
•    have a security plan in place, if involved with high-consequence dangerous goods
Read guidance for businesses on transport security for dangerous goods on the Department for Transport (DfT) website – Opens in a new window.
From 2010, the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals will be introduced. It aims to protect workers, consumers and the environment by labelling chemicals in a way that explains their possible hazardous effects. It will harmonise the codes and regulations relating to the transport of dangerous goods and means businesses must classify, label and package their substances and mixtures appropriately before placing them on the market. The deadline for substance reclassification is currently 1 December 2010 and, for mixtures, 1 June 2015.
For more information on the SITPRO DGN, see our guide on moving dangerous goods.
You also have to send a DGN with your consignment. View a guide to completing a DGN from the SITPRO website – Opens in a new window.
New transit/transhipment legislation in force from 6 April 2009 may affect your goods. The new rules allow controlled goods to pass through the UK without needing a specific UK licence, but also enable customs authorities to intervene or stop a shipment if they are concerned. Download guidance about the Export Control Act 2008 from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills website (PDF, 115K) – Opens in a new window.
Insurance for international road transport
As with any commercial transactions, there are risks associated with trading internationally. This page explains the likely risks you may encounter and the factors to consider.
For insurance cover to be valid, you have to be able to show that you have an ‘insurable interest’ in the insured goods. This means showing that the goods are yours and that you bear the risks associated with them.
The three main risks that arise in international trade are:
•    loss
•    damage
•    delay (including detention at customs)
How risks are shared between buyers and sellers is a contractual matter. The point at which the insurable interest passes from supplier to buyer is determined by the sale of contract used. You should be aware that Incoterms – a standardised set of trading terms – do not cover insurance unless the terms agreed are either CIF (costs, insurance and freight) or CIP (carriage and insurance paid to). For more information, see our guide to International commercial contracts – Incoterms.
Under a CMR contract the carrier bears some limited liability (although this is determined on a case-by-case basis and sometimes the liability can be total), so traders should arrange the appropriate insurance cover. For more information, download a copy of the CMR Convention from the UNECE website (PDF, 59K) – Opens in a new window.
Traders often tend to under-insure themselves, so it’s recommended that you add 10 per cent to the amount of cover you think you need. You can also arrange cover for contingencies, such as the buyer refusing to accept your goods when they arrive.
For more information about arranging insurance for your international trade, see our guide on transport insurance.
Licences for international road transport
Unless you are using your own vehicles, you don’t need to apply for any licences to transport your goods by road. However, you should make sure that anyone transporting goods for you is properly licensed.
Anyone operating a goods vehicle must have an operator’s licence – sometimes referred to as an ‘O Licence’. These are required for any vehicle with a gross plated weight of more than 3.5 tonnes. Drivers who transport dangerous goods need to hold an ADR training certificate, unless they are transporting small loads.
Three kinds of operator’s licence are available, and you should make sure that hauliers you use have the appropriate licence for your needs. The three categories are:
•    restricted – the licence holder can carry their own goods within the UK
•    standard national – the holder can carry both their own goods and goods for others within the UK
•    standard international – the holder can carry their own goods and goods for others both in the UK and on international journeys
For international trade, you need to ensure that your operator has a standard international licence.
See our section on driving licences for lorries and vans.
Bear in mind that there’s a wide range of other regulations and requirements that road hauliers must comply with. These include rules on the numbers of hours that drivers are permitted to work. All goods vehicles must be fitted with a tachograph to monitor drivers’ working hours.
See our sections on drivers’ hours rules and using tachographs. Haulage Transport Haulage

About the Author

‘Daniel Parry is the founder of, a free to use price comparison website for shipping, transportation and courier services’

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