Road Transport Operations Germany

Germany (or as it is officially known, the Federal Republic of Germany) is a federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe. It comprises 16 States and covers an area of 357,021 square kilometres (137,847 square miles) with a population of approximately 82 million inhabitants. 

Germany has the highest population as a member state of the European Union, with Berlin as its capital city.  

The main urban areas are:

  • The Ruhr 
  • Hamburg 
  • Munich 
  • Cologne 
  • Frankfurt 
  • Stuttgart  
  • Düsseldorf. 

The road infrastructure and facilities available to HGV drivers are second to none and what can be expected from a highly disciplined and well-structured country. 

Cabotage 

UK hauliers may carry goods to, through or from the country and goods can also be carried from Germany to a third country and vice versa if permitted by the terms of any agreement between the three countries. Cabotage is permitted. 

Abnormal Loads 

Special authorisations are required for all abnormal load movements which exceed German vehicle dimensions (including weight). Applications for authorisations must be made to the local transport authority 'Strassenverkehrsamt' closest to the point of entry into the country. 

All abnormal load operators will require a keeper’s certificate to prove ownership of the trailer which must be carried as part of the vehicle documents at all times.
An application form can be downloaded below:

Vehicle Legal Documentation 

  • A Green Card is required, plus original vehicle registration docs.
  • A GB plate must be fitted to the rear of vehicle/trailer.
  • A Trailer Registration Certificate is a requirement. To register for a trailer certificate go to https://www.gov.uk/register-trailer-to-take-abroad 

Driver Legal Documents

  • A full passport is required but no visa is required
  • Full UK driving Licence
  • Letter from employer giving driver permission to drive vehicle (attestation letter and form).. 

If the UK fully leaves the EU on 31 January 2021, HGV drivers will require travel insurance with healthcare cover 

Customs 

TIR carnets are permitted for loads crossing Germany. ATA carnets are accepted for certain temporary imports. CMR documents should be used. 

Log Books 

Drivers of commercial vehicles between 2.8 and 3.5 tonnes must observe the EU Hours rules. For those vehicles not fitted with a Tachograph, log books must be used at all times. 

Emergency Services 

If there is ever a requirement to contact the emergency services, such as in the case of an emergency the following numbers are recommended. However, it should be noted that 112 acts as a general emergency services number in a similar fashion to 999. 

  • 112 Fire service (Feuerwehr) 
  • 110 Police (Polizei) 

Road Safety 

The following items of equipment or national requirements apply to all commercial vehicle in Germany. 

  • Warning triangles are compulsory and in the event of a breakdown, must be placed 100 metres behind the vehicle on ordinary roads and 250 metres on motorways 
  • Spare bulbs must be carried 
  • Two independent flashing amber lamps must be carried on vehicles exceeding 2.5 tonnes. In the event of a breakdown, they must be placed behind and in front of the vehicle 
  • First aid kits are compulsory 
  • Snow chains and 'M+S' tyres must be fitted on drive axles on snow-covered roads in compliance with road sign direction. When snow chains are fitted, the speed limit is reduced to 50kms 
  • A spade, pick and tow rope should be carried in the winter months 
  • Tyre tread depth is 1.6 millimetres 

Dangerous Goods 

Moving dangerous goods by road is governed by international regulations and is strictly policed. Most European countries are signed up to ADR. Each country that complies with ADR implements specific safety measures through its own national legislation. 

ADR ensures that any dangerous goods transported by road can cross international borders freely if the goods, vehicles and drivers comply with its rules. 

ADR has been in force since 1968 and is administered by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). It is updated every 2 years to take account of technological advances. 

Germany is a party to ADR, however, there are restrictions on the movement of dangerous goods on bridges and in tunnels. 

Tunnel Name 
Road Number/ location 
Category & Other details 

Wallring 

Hamburg Altstadt 

E 

Alsterkrugchausee 

Hamburg Knoten / Alsterkrugchausee / Sengelmannstrasse 

E from 06:00 to 21:00 C at all other times 

CCH Tunnel 

Hamburg Vorfahrsbauwerk am Congress Centrum 

E 

Elbtunnel 

A7 Hamburg 

E from 05:00 to 23:00 
C at all other times 

Krohnstiegtunnel 

Hamburg Niendord 

E from 06:00 to 21:00 
C at all other times 

Heidkopftunnel 

A38 Niedersachsen 

E 

Emstunnel 

A31 Niedersachsen 

B 

Tunnel Bad Godesburg 

B9 Bonn Bad Godesburg (Northeim Westfalen) 

E 

Alte Burg 

A71 Thuringen 

E 

Rennsteig 

A71 Thuringen 

E 

Hochwald 

A71 Thuringen 

E 

Berg Bock 

A71 Thuringen 

E 

The above is merely an overview of some of the tunnels throughout Germany. A comprehensive list is available for download below:

You can also visit the UNECE website at the link below & select the applicable country name 
http://www.unece.org/trans/danger/publi/adr/country-info_e.html 

Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI)  
Division G 16 Transport of Dangerous Goods 
Robert-Schuman-Platz 1 
Postfach 20 01 00 
53175 BONN 
Germany 
 
Tel: +49 228 99300 2470 
Fax: +49 228 99300 807 2470 
E-mail: [email protected] 
E-mail: [email protected] 

Movement Restrictions (HGV driving bans) 

The summer driving ban on Saturdaysstarts from 1st July until 31st August between 07:00 and 20:00 hrs for vehicles exceeding 7.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight and for road trains (articulated lorries and draw-bars) on high traffic motorways and trunk roads in both directions. 

There is a general driving ban on Sundays and public holidays between 00:00 and 22:00 hrs for vehicles exceeding 7.5 tonnes gross weight and for road trains (articulated lorries and draw-bars) on all roads. 

Public Holidays 

The following dates are the official public holidays in Germany. However, it should be noted that there are several other regional holidays in various states. 

  • January 1 - New Year’s Day 
  • January 6 - Three Kings Day  (Regional Holiday) 
  • April 10 - Good Friday 
  • April 13 - Easter Monday 
  • May 01 - Labour Day 
  • May 08 – Victory in Europe day (Regional Holiday – Berlin) 
  • May 21 - Ascension Day 
  • June 1 - Whit Monday 
  • June 11 - Corpus Christi (Regional Holiday – Several States) 
  • October 03 - German Unity Day (Saturday) 
  • November 18 – Repentance day (Regional Holiday - Saxony) 
  • Friday 25 - Christmas Day 
  • Saturday 26 - St Stephens Day  

Vehicle/load Exemptions 

The following exemptions are applicable:

  • Intermodal road/rail transport from the shipper to the nearest suitable loading rail station or from the nearest suitable unloading rail station to the consignee, but only up to a distance of 200km; 
  • Transportation of fresh milk and fresh dairy products, fresh meat and fresh meat products, fresh fish, live fish and fresh fish products, perishable fruit and vegetables; 
  • Saddle vehicles (independent of weight) that are exclusively used to pull other vehicles; 
  • Saddle vehicles with a legal maximum weight of up to 7.5 tonnes (these are classified as trucks without trailers); 
  • Vehicles where the load is part of the vehicle`s inventory (e.g. exhibition and film set units) 

Night Driving Restrictions 

On some routes in Germany, there are also night-time driving restrictions, which are indicated by road signs and generally include a ban on all vehicles 7.5 tonnes and over where the ban is in force. 

Low Emission Zones 

Since March 2007, many German cities have introduced LEZ's. There are 4 emission categories, which are determined by the year of registration of the vehicle or the vehicle's Euro engine specification as follows: 

Category 

Euro Engine Specification 

Category 1 

Euro 0 or Euro 1 - No Sticker 

Category 2 

Euro 1 or Euro 2 With Particle Filter - Red Sticker 

Category 3 

Euro 2 or Euro 3 With Particle Filter - Yellow Sticker 

Category 4 

Euro 3 or Euro 4 With Particle Filter - Green Sticker 

Emission stickers must be displayed at all times and are available for purchase (€5 - €10) from Vehicle Test Stations or authorised garages. Stickers are valid for an unlimited period. 

Cities with LEZ 

Euro Engine Requirement 

Introduced from 

Berlin 

Euro 4 only 

January 2010 

Hannover 

Euro 4 only 

January 2010 

Cologne (Köln) 

Euro 3 and 4 

January 2010 

Stuttgart 

Currently 2, 3 and 4 

From January 2012 only Euro 3 and 4 permitted 

Tübingen 

Currently 2, 3 and 4 

From January 2012 only Euro 3 and 4 permitted 

There are many other towns and cities affected by LEZ's including, Ilsfeld, Leonberg, Ludwigsburg, Mannheim, Reutlingen, Frankfurt/Main and Münich. For an EU wide map showing LEZ's visit  https://urbanaccessregulations.eu/ 

For a comprehensive list of 72 other LEZ Cities within Germany, please visit the link below:
https://urbanaccessregulations.eu/countries-mainmenu-147/germany-mainmenu-61 

Road Tolls 

Germany's LKW-MAUT (lorry toll) is a government tax for trucks based on the distance driven in kilometres, number of axles and the emission category of the vehicle. The MAUT system is a GPS-based toll system, there are no toll booths or plazas on the highways, instead this system works via the following methods:

  • On-Board Units (OBU) 
  • Manual payment terminals; or 
  • Via the internet. 

In addition to 300 toll checker gantries strategically located throughout the country, toll enforcement also relies on mobile patrols, consisting of a fleet of around 300 vehicles with approx 540 officers of the Federal Office of Freight (BAG). The officers patrol the autobahns, checking vehicles and drivers to ensure they have paid the toll or have the OBU installed. BAG vehicles are equipped with an infrared short-range  Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) system that can be used to scan and monitor trucks in motion. The BAG has police powers to request trucks to stop for examination at any point during their journey. 

The autobahn system gantries are also equipped with IR detection equipment and high-resolution cameras, which can pick out trucks via profiling (and record number plates). These units send a DSRC signal to a corresponding transponder (which is part of the OBU) in the lorry to check on the accuracy of the GPS as a back-up and also alert BAG officers to any toll violations. The OBU is also able to work with the new Galileo satellite system for positioning which is being developed in Europe as a more accurate alternative to GPS. 

Toll Rates 

After the extension of the road toll on all federal highways in July 2018, the German toll was again significantly increased on 01.01.2019. The basis of this increase is the 5th Amendment to the Federal Highway Exposure Act and thus the underlying report on the EU Road Charges Directive, which was essentially implemented. 

The final toll rates are made up of three sub-rates:

  • Infrastructure - differentiated according to the permissible total weight, for vehicles over 18 tonnes also according to the number of axles 
  • Air pollution - differentiated according to EURO emission classes and the permissible total weight, EURO VI vehicles are now also subject to this sub-rates 
  • Noise pollution uniform rate for all vehicles 

The proportion of the toll rate for air pollution caused is determined based on the emission class. Each vehicle is assigned, according to its emission class, to one of the six categories: A, B, C, D, E or F. The indication of the emission classes is the responsibility of the toll customers; the customers are obliged to provide all toll-relevant data correctly (principle of self-declaration). 

For information of rates, euro engines etc. please visit the link below. 
https://www.toll-collect.de/en/toll_collect/bezahlen/maut_tarife/maut_tarife.html 

Bridge and Tunnel Tolls 

At the time of writing there are only 2 toll tunnels within Germany, both of which are located in the north of the country with the Herren Tunnel in the district of Schleswig-Holstein and the Warnow Tunnel in the district of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. 

Herren Tunnel (B75)

Connects Lûbeck and Travemûnde 
https://www.herrentunnel.de/ Vehicles carrying dangerous goods are not permitted in the Herren Tunnel. (Detour via Travemünder Allee (B 75), Eric-Warburg-Brücke (K 25), BAB A 1 and A 226) 

Warnow Tunnel (B105) 

Connects East/West banks of Warnow River in Rostock. 
https://warnowquerung.de/en/  HGV’s are required to obtain permission to use the tunnel. Contact the tunnel office on 0381 6372231 

Load Safety 

The German enforcement authority (BAG) will check loads on commercial vehicles for load security. Where vehicles are deemed to have insufficient load restraint, vehicles will be prevented from further movement until the load is secured according to the enforcement officer’s satisfaction. 

With more and more EU member states implementing 'Load Safety Best Practice' and penalising operators/drivers for failure to implement it is advisable that operators read the EU Load Safety Guidelines, which can be downloaded from the link below:

Maximum Weights & Dimensions 

Height 

4 Metres 

Width 

2.55 metres (Fridges 2.6 metres) 

Length 

Artic 16.5 metres Road Train 18.75 metres 
Car Transporter 20.75 metres 

Weight 

Artic 40 tonnes 
Combined Transports up to 44 tonnes 
There is also various maximum permitted weights on vehicles, trailers and road trains which are applicable according to the number of axles. 


Speed Limits 

Vehicles Concerned 

Built-Up Areas (kms) 

Outside Built-Up Areas (kms) 

Motorways (kms) 

All Trucks 3.5 tonnes to 7.5 tonnes 

50 

80 

80 

Trucks over 7.5 tonnes 

50 

60 

80 

Combined Transports over 3.5 tonnes 

50 

60 

80 


The following links provide and further information 

British Embassy 

Consular Section Wilhelmstraße 70/71 
10117Berlin 
Germany 
Tel: +49 30 204570  
Web: https://www.gov.uk/world/organisations/british-embassy-berlin 

Transport Organisation 

Federal Association for Freight Transport Logistics and Disposal (BGL) eV 
Breitenbachstrasse 1 
60487 Frankfurt am Main 
Tel: +49 (069) 79 19-0  
Web: http://www.bgl-ev.de/web/home/index.htm  

Federal Office of Freight Transport (FOPH) 
Main address 
Werderstraße 34 
50672 Köln 
Nordrhein-Westfalen 
Deutschland 
Tel: +49 221 5776-0 
Fax: +49 221 5776-1777 
Email: [email protected] 
Web: http://www.bag.bund.de/