How to move goods by road

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 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.

All traders moving goods across the European Union (EU) under TIR must submit an electronic customs declaration using the New Computerised Transit System (NCTS).

Download the European Commission Transit Manual for the TIR procedure (PDF, 245K).

TIR doesn't apply to journeys within the EU because there are no customs checks for EU-only journeys.

Important: If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, there will be significant changes to cross-border road haulage.

Goods vehicle operators need to make preparations for their international road haulage operations after Brexit.