Road Transport Operation Switzerland

Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a country situated in the confluence of Western, Central, and Southern Europe. It is a federal republic composed of 26 cantons, with federal authorities based in Bern. Switzerland is a landlocked country bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland has a population of circa 8.6 million inhabitants. It's capital city is Bern. 

Cabotage 

UK operators may carry loads to, from or through the country. Loads carried between third countries can only do so under a bi-lateral agreement and must be carried under cover of an ECMT multi-lateral permit. Cabotage is not permitted. 

Dangerous Goods 

Switzerland is party to ADR. It is essential that fully completed ADR documentation is prepared for the movement of dangerous goods. 

There are special restrictions which apply to many tunnels and cantons within Switzerland, these restrictions also apply to the type of goods, quantities and whether specific vehicles which carry dangerous goods require escorts. 

For further information, visit the UNECE website at the link below & select the country name applicable - http://www.unece.org/trans/danger/publi/adr/country-info_e.html 

It should be noted that there is a lot of information relating to ADR covering Switzerland. 

ADR Tunnels & Bridges 

There are a considerable number of tunnels throughout Switzerland, however, the following ADR tunnels are applicable to most HGV journey. 

Road 

From, to or near 

Tunnel Name 

Tunnel Length 

ADR Code 

N2 

Göschenen-Airolo  

St. Gotthard  

16,918 m 

E 

N13 

Thusis-Tessin 

San Bernardino 

6,596 m 

E 

KS 

Martigny-Aosta 

Grosser St. Bernhard 

5,798 m 

E 

KS 

Thusis-San Bernardino 

Rongellen II 

 

E 

KS 

Bellinzona-Brissago 

Mappo-Morettina 

5,530 m 

E 

KS 

Crissier 

Galerie du Marcolet 

 

E 


Abnormal Loads 

Vehicles which, because of their load, do not conform to the regulations concerning weights and dimensions as detailed below, require special authorisation. For vehicles carrying out import and transit operations in international traffic, authorisations are issued by the Federal Office of Roads and requests should be sent at least seven working days before the beginning of the operation to Federal Office of Roads Vehicle Department, 2 Mühlegasse, CH - 3003 Bern. Tel: +41 (31) 322 94 11 

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:

Taxation 

A full tank of fuel and fuel required for any refrigeration unit can be imported duty free. 

Customs 

TIR Carnets are accepted for vehicles crossing Switzerland. ATA Carnets are accepted for certain temporary imports. CMR notes are advised. 

Movement Restrictions

Every Sunday between 00:00 and 24:00 it is forbidden to drive in Switzerland with vehicles exceeding 3.5 t gross vehicle weight and for road trains exceeding 5 t gross vehicle weight. 

For these vehicles a further night driving ban also applies every night between 22:00 and 05:00. This is applicable throughout the months of July – December inclusive. 

Public Holidays 

The following Public Holidays are applicable in Switzerland:

  • January 1 - New Year’s Day 
  • April 10 - Good Friday 
  • April 13 - Easter Monday 
  • May 21 - Ascension Day 
  • August 1  National Day 
  • June 11 - Corpus Christi (Regional Holiday – Several States) 
  • Friday 25 - Christmas Day 

There are some 21 Regional holidays across Switzerland which are not all celebrated in all Cantons, and it is advisable to check with the cantons prior to departure. 

Road Tolls & Taxes 

Road taxes are incurred when goods are transported in Switzerland:

  • The use of Swiss motorways with motor vehicles and trailers up to 3.5 tonnes is subject to payment of the motorway tax (vignette). 
  • The mileage-related heavy vehicle charge HVF  depends on the total weight, emissions level, and kilometres driven in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein. It applies to motor vehicles and their trailers that have a total permissible laden weight of more than 3.5 tonnes and are used to transport goods. 

HVC - General / Rates 

The performance-related heavy vehicle charge is a federal tax levied on the basis of total weight, emission level and the kilometres driven in Switzerland and the principality of Liechtenstein. 

It must be paid for all the vehicles and trailers which:

  • Have a total weight of more than 3,5 tons 
  • Are used for the carriage of goods and 
  • Are licensed in Switzerland and abroad and drive on Switzerland’s public roads network. 

Current Rates 

Tax category 

Euro category  

Rate  

I  

Euro 3*, 2*, 1 and 0  

3.10 ct./tkm  

II  

Euro 4 and 5 (EEV)  

2.69 ct./tkm  

III  

Euro 6  

2.28 ct./tkm  

* 10% discount for vehicles retrofitted with particle filter systems which keeps the particle limit value Euro 4 (0.02 g/kWh) 

The Swiss Federal Council has decided to classify the performance-related HVF levy as planned. For example, vehicles in EURO categories IV and V are to be moved from the medium to the most expensive HVF category by 1 January 2021. 

Example of how to calculate the rate 

Relevant weight – 18 tonnes 
Rate according to emission (Euro 6) – 2.28 ct./tkm 
Kilometres driven – 100 km 
Total (18 x 2.28 x 100 = 4105) – Charge is therefore – CHF 41.05 

Articulated Vehicles / Articulated Lorries 

For articulated vehicles licensed as a unit the tax is calculated according to the total weight. If articulated lorry and semi-trailer are licensed separately, then the unloaded weight of the articulated lorry and the total weight of the semi-trailer are relevant. 

Bridge and Tunnel Tolls 

There are many road tunnels and bridges in Switzerland. Similarly to France and Italy, the most formidable barrier to negotiate is the Alps. Many of the road tunnels and bridges within the borders of Switzerland are within the existing toll road network and are therefore charged accordingly. The Grand St Bernard Tunnel between Switzerland and Italy is a toll tunnel that is charged in addition to the cost of the standard toll charges in both countries. 

Tunnel Grand St Bernard - A16 (CH) and A36 (I) - E27 - connects Belfort (CH) to Aosta (I) http://www.letunnel.eu/homepage.asp?l=2 

Trucks on Trains - 'Piggyback' 

There are very good accompanied and unaccompanied 'Piggyback' services available in Switzerland. The three largest companies offering these are listed below. 

Vehicle Legal Documentation 

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

Maximum Weights & Dimensions 

Height 

4 metres 

Width 

2.55 metres (Fridges 2.6 metres) 

Length 

Artic 16.5 metres 
Road Train 18.75 metres 

Weight 

Artic 40 tonnes (40 foot ISO containers - 44 tonnes) 
Road Train 40 tonnes 
There are also various maximum permitted weights on vehicles, trailers and road trains which are applicable according to the number of axles. 


Safety Equipment 

It is compulsory to carry the following items of equipment and/or observe specific rules: 

  • First Aid Kit 
  • Warning triangle 
  • Spare bulbs 
  • Dipped headlights are compulsory at all times 
  • Seat belts must be worn 
  • Wheel chocks 
  • Fire extinguisher 

Snow Chains 

Although there is no obligation to carry snow chains on board a vehicle, the use of chains is compulsory on certain road sections. These road sections are signposted 'Chaines a neige obligatoires'. The time period is unspecified as Alpine regions may be subject to summer snowfall. At least two drive wheels on the same axle, or one per side in the case of twin wheels, must be fitted with metallic snow chains or with similar equipment, made of some other substance, which is authorised by the Federal Office for Roads. 

Winter Tyres 

Studded tyres are authorised for vehicles of up to 3.5t gross weight, from 1 November to 30 April. 

Driver Legal Documents 

  • Full passport required.
  • International driving licence or normal UK Licence.
  • Letter from employer giving driver permission to drive vehicle or attestation letter and form.
  • EU Hours rules apply. 

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

Speed Limits 

For all commercial vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, the following are the maximum speed limits in Switzerland which apply, unless there are signs to the contrary:

  • Built up areas – 50 kph 
  • All-purpose single carriageways – 80 kph 
  • Express/Dual carriage ways – 80 kph 
  • Motorways – 80 kph 

Further Reading 

The following links provide guidance and further information. 

British Embassy 

Thunstrasse 50 
3005 Berne 
Tel: +41 31 359 77 00  
Web: https://www.gov.uk/world/organisations/british-embassy-berne 

Transport Organisation 

ASTAG 
Wolflidstrasse 5 
3006 Berne 
Tel: 031 370 85 85 
Email: [email protected]  
Web: https://www.astag.ch/