A Simple Guide to International Haulage

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From ASOS and Amazon deliveries to ordering artwork and food from overseas, it is no secret that the international shipping industry has dramatically changed the way that we shop and live our lives. With the swift click of a button, we can order a new bikini from Australia, marshmallow cereal from America and send a present across to our friend on the other side of the world, all within the convenience of our own home.

Yet, if you are planning on starting a company that ships worldwide, or you are thinking about becoming an international haulage driver, then it is important to know the industry inside and out. Here at SG Haulage, we want to make this easier for you. As a leading haulage company based in Lincoln, we want to provide as much information about this fascinating industry as possible. Utilising our 25 years of experience within this sector, we have put together a handy guide that will unpack all of the various jargon and leave you an international haulage expert afterwards.

What is International Haulage?

Broadly speaking, international haulage is the export and import of goods around the world. These are often travelled via lorries, aeroplanes and cargo ships. Licensed goods vehicle operators are employed by companies to transport these items, these can also be known as couriers.

In order to be a vehicle goods driver, you need to carry a specific license and have a tachograph which follows the movements and direction of your vehicle. We have all been there once or twice when goods get lost in the post, and a tachograph makes sure that this happens less and that your goods can be traced. A tachograph is also essential as this can track to make sure that the driver is following the rules on drivers hours.

Companies who are interested in hiring international haulage drivers, you can check a drivers credentials online, as well as seeing any penalty points or disqualifications. Not only does this mean that you can employ a driver with a stellar track record, but also it assures you that they will deliver the goods safely and quickly as it is in their best interest to perform well on the job.

History of International haulage and international transport

Even though international shipping and haulage has ballooned in the past 50 years due to the fast development in e-commerce – international transport and trade has actually been around for the past 4000 years. The earliest evidence of international transport was when ancient civilisations would ship grain from country to country.

Throughout this time, as each region and country became more powerful, their international trade and transport would increase. This is because the demand for the countries production of materials and food would seem valuable to other countries. So from the Persian Empire to the Ancient Romans, despite any religious differences, wars or conflicts – connections were established. This further progressed as the years passed, from the Renaissance period till the British Empire.

Despite this being commonplace, before the Victorian era, international shipping had many logistical issues. In 1840, the British stamp was invented – which allowed for payment of goods by the sender. Beforehand, payment was expected by the recipient which led to many unclaimed goods or mail. Yet, rates would still largely vary and it would take plenty of calculations and knowledge of current exchange rates before a product could be shipped.

The Universal Postal Union was created in 1863 which was the first unification of international shipping – creating a flat rate for shipping across the globe, equal treatment of goods, and each country would retain all of the money that had been collected for international shipping.

Shipping also changed dramatically during both the First and Second World Wars. Due to the amount of letters and parcels that were being sent from families and loved ones to the troops, special sorting depots needed to be created. What’s more, sending items internationally became more and more difficult due to hazards like bombings, the need to conserve resources, and growing fears of spies. Therefore, correspondence of any sort increasingly become monitored. In the Second World War, mail and parcels to enemy countries ceased altogether, but it was possible to contact others in neutral countries.

The First and Second World War also saw the rise in aerospace engineering, meaning that after the war shipping via air became more possible. From this, the international shipping and haulage industries grew from strength to strength – the further development of modern vehicles that we recognise today made these processes more efficient. And, what is also worthy to note is that after the devastating effects of the war, when the UN and EU was created – this smoothed international relations meaning that communication and shipping transport could largely go unscathed.

Recently, when Britain voted to leave the European Union, this meant that international trade and regulations between the UK and European companies would need to be renegotiated and possibly changed. Until Britain does leave it is largely unknown as to how this will affect shipping costs, but it will most definitely further shape the international haulage industry.

International haulage rules and regulations

As mentioned above, due to Brexit negotiations, these rules and regulations could change. However, below is the current regulations in place.

Vehicle Documentation

Vehicles and drivers must have relevant and exact documentation in order for them to be licensed to carry goods. Yet, these can change depending on the country you are travelling in. For instance, some countries require that the vehicle has extra safety precautions like fire extinguishers, first aid kits, reflective jackets and other items. You can check local regulations through institutions like the British Embassy.

A UK registered lorry, coach or vehicle must have the following:

  • Driver with a full valid driving license
  • Current vehicle tax disc
  • Vehicle registration certificate
  • Valid insurance certificate
  • Valid MOT, passenger service vehicle, or goods vehicle certificate
  • Valid reduced pollution certificate

Vehicle Weight Limits

The weight limit can vary depending on your vehicles engine and the type of vehicle that it is. This can range from 40,000 kilograms to 44,000 kilograms for two-axle and three-axle vehicles.

Vehicle Emissions

It is no secret environmental concerns are increasing – this is why all businesses have a legal obligation to protect the environment. So, if you pride yourself on being an environmentally friendly business – then you need to consider this in haulage. Heavy goods vehicles can apply for an Reduced Pollution Certificate (RPC). An RPC will reduce vehicle tax and will allow haulage vehicles to enter low emission zones in London.

Driving in Europe

If you are considering to ship your products internationally, it is worth bearing in mind that in some European countries there are restrictions over the times and days that heavy goods vehicles can operate on public roads. For instance, France, Spain and Italy have a general ban on vehicles that have a maximum gross weight of 7.5 tonnes to operate on Sundays and public holidays.

SG Haulage: International Haulage Company in Lincoln

If you are looking for a transport company near you, then you have come to the right place. Here at SG Haulage, we pride ourselves on providing efficient and reliable road haulage services.

If you are looking for heavy or light haulage, our team can assist and no matter where your cargo needs to go – whether nationally or abroad, our team can also help as we have years of experience within international and national trade.

What’s more, alongside our comprehensive range of haulage services, we also offer crane hire and transport of vehicles. Infact, we are specialists in transporting heavy goods altogether. To find out more about us, or if you have a query for a member of our team, simply contact us today.