Thanks to our freight exchange app, it has become easier and easier for haulage companies to advertise their vehicle capacity. Signing up to a freight exchange to maximise capacity can increase profits all round and is better for the environment as well. However, getting more jobs coming your way means that you’ll occasionally find yourself driving routes you are unused to, coming across new rules and regulations.
Here is our handy guide to completing a job in Germany.
Getting There: Germany
Most freight drivers choose to take the ferry from Dover to Dunkirk, then complete the remainder of the journey by road. Though this is the tried and tested method, there are a couple of other options available. Firstly, you can take a direct ferry from Cuxhaven to Immingham with DFDS North Sea. It’s worth noting that tickets for the 12 driver Freight vessel are time and date specific so you need to be confident of your driving times. A second route is to take the Dover to Calais ferry and drive on from there. However, you’ll save time and fuel by sailing to the more eastern town of Dunkirk, close to Belgium.
Don’t Get Caught Out: Vehicle and Road Regulations
Be aware that there are areas of Germany that operate as low-emission zones - particularly in major cities. There are on-the-spot fines for those who ignore the regulations.
There are also regulations governing oversized transportation. Oversize transportation is defined as freights longer than 20 metres, very heavy haulage, and very large measurements (no matter the weight). You might need a police escort, or only be allowed to travel at certain times of the day e.g. 10pm to 6am. Whatever your load, make sure you have all the details of the freight, as well as the vehicle you are driving, on hand.
There are fixed speed limits for HGVs. If your vehicle weighs 3.5-7.5 tonnes the limits will be 80km/h on single-lane roads dropping down to 60km/h for heavier vehicles. On motorways you can travel at 80km/h – though, again, on-the-spot fines are common so it’s advisable to watch your speed at all times.
What You’ll Need
As well as the obvious items, such as a warning triangle, hi-vis jackets, a spare tyre, and first-aid kit, when travelling in the EU there are certain documents you must carry.
A driving license and certificate of registration (part I) is required – a photocopy will not cut the mustard! You’ll also need a letter of authority to drive the vehicle from the HGVs owner, a letter of attestation from your company with all the necessary information including contact details, and a full passport.
Know the terrain you’ll be driving across and make sure you are prepared for any adverse conditions. In the winter, carry blankets, warm clothing, and suitable footwear. Items such as a tow rope, a torch, and jump leads are always useful, as is a warm flask of tea or coffee.
If you’ve picked up a new route thanks to our freight exchange, I hope this short guide will help with some tips on managing a successful trip to Germany. Gute Reise!
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their online freight exchange, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching loads and with available drivers. Over 4,500 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.