Merchandise road transport is subject to licensing under the Road Transport Act 1933. This has been superseded by the above legislation but some parts remain in force.
Merchandise road transport is the carriage for reward of goods in a mechanically propelled vehicle on vehicles drawn by the same. It does not include carriage of merchandise by passenger road service licence under the Road Transport Act 1932 for carriage of mail. Merchandise includes most goods, minerals, animals and materials.
It is an offence to carry on a merchandise road transport business without a licence.
- Certain commodities are not subject to statutory restriction. This includes the following farm produced subject to certain conditions at certain times of the year in vehicles not exceeding certain sizes.
- Carriage of milk to or from creamery or separating stations.
- Carriage of turf by permitted persons under Turf Development Act.
- Carriage of livestock for neighbouring farm by persons whose principal occupation is farming. There are restrictions on the distance of carriage and other conditions.
A Merchandise licence may be a national road trade carrier licence or an international road trade carrier licence. The latter permit transport business outside the State whereas the former is restricted to the state.
A merchandise licence is not transferable. It must state the name and address of the holder, registration number of each licence vehicle and such other requirements as maybe specified.
Where a vehicle has been sold without the licence the vehicle plates must be delivered to An Garda Síochána within three days. It is an offence to fraudulently use any vehicle plate.
The vehicle plate must be maintained on the vehicles carrying merchandise. It must be fixed in a prescribed manner that the plate may not be defaced by wear, injury or otherwise not be obliterated or be illegible. It must be fixed in a manner prescribed by law.
Any member of An Garda Síochána may inspect or examine vehicles carrying merchandise and for such purpose may enter into a place with lorry or tractor is required to stop or acquire the lorry or tractor driver to drive it to a convenient place.
It is an offence to obstruct or interfere with An Garda Síochána in the exercise of its powers. Failure to stop or failure to comply with requirement.
Carriage for Reward
A person may not engage or use the services of an undertaking for the carriage of road by reward unless the undertaking holds a road for each carrier’s licence, or the carriage is of a type exempt from licensing. Breach is an offence.
There is a presumption that where a mechanically propelled vehicle is used for the carriage of merchandise that this is done for reward. Merchandise supplied by a person in the course of a business carried out by him for the purpose of delivery to a customer is not deemed to be carried out for reward.
Similarly merchandise subject to any of the following processes: repairing, cleaning, laundering, dyeing by a person in the course of the business carried out by him for the purpose of collection or delivery to the customer carried out in his vehicle is not deemed to be carried out for reward.
If a vehicle carries a person’s own property or merchandise, the property of the company which is in the same ownership or same management, there is no carriage for reward. If merchandise is owned by several party including the owner of the vehicle, it is presumed until the contrary shown that it does not belong to the owner of the vehicle.
Licence & Register
A licensee under a merchandise licence must supply the driver with copies of the licence. Failure to do so is an offence. A member of an Garda Síochána may require production of merchandise license or a copy thereof. Failure to comply is an offence. Coras Iompair Eireann ) and Dublin Bus are subject to bylaws in relation to their operation of road transport services.
The Minister is to cause the register of merchandise licences to be maintained in such form as may be prescribed. It shall be open for inspection at all times of the payment of fees prescribed by the Minister for Finance. Any person is entitled to obtain a copy on payment of a fee for the amount prescribed.
Restricted Road Freight Licences
Under the 1978 act the Minister may grant a licence known as a restricted road freight licence to a person authorising him to use the vehicle for the purpose of road transport in the State subject to such conditions as the Minister may see fit to impose and specify in the licence. This is not to be construed as permitting a person to use a vehicle in respect of which a restricted licence has been granted for the purpose of delivery in the state of goods which had been loaded on to that vehicle in the State.
Where a vehicle in respect of which a restricted road freight licence has issued complies with certain conditions the restricted road freight licence shall also authorise the licensee to import the vehicles into the State for the purpose of the 1930s legislation which restricted import.
The Minister may declare that a licence or a class of licence issued by the competent authority of another state, an international organisation or a body acting on behalf of them pursuant to an international agreement relating to road transport or agreement or resolution relating to transport to which a Minister is party, is deemed to be restricted road freight licence.
The principal Act shall not apply to a person who is the holder of a restricted road freight licence or licensee deemed on to be a restricted road freight licensee when the person is engaged in merchandise road transport under and in accordance with the terms of the licence.
The Minister may at his discretion charge a fee of such amount as may be determined in respect of a restricted road freight licences or licence deemed to be such.
National & International
The Road Transport Act 1986 makes further provision in relation to merchandise licences. They are to be in a prescribed form. They are to state whether it is a national road freight carriers licence under the Road Transport Act 1986 or an international road freight carrier’s licence and state of registration of each registered and taxed vehicle be authorised.
Every application must contain information that will satisfy the Minister that the applicant is in good financial standing and has the requisite professional confidence required under EU legislation.
Every merchandise licence being a national road freight carrier’s licence shall entitle the holder to carry on a merchandise road transport business in the State with such vehicles as may be specified in the licence. Every merchandise licence being an international road freight carrier’s licence, shall quality the holder to carry on a merchandise road transport business, either inside or outside the State with such vehicles as may be specified in the licence.
Every merchandise licence shall also operate subject to the relevant provisions of the legislation and regulations made thereunder and conditions specified in the licence and the case of a merchandise licence being an international road freight carrier’s licence subject to such regulations in force in the state in which the business is carried on.
A merchandise licence shall not be transferrable. It will take the name and address of holder, name and date and issue of expiry, registration number of each vehicle and such other requirements as may be specified.
If the holder of a carrier’s licence shall notify the Minister in writing of any change he desires to make in the number or type of authorised vehicles to be operated under the licence, he shall return the licence for such purpose and a new licence shall be issued in substitution.
Notwithstanding the principal Act, the Minister may grant in respect of vehicles which comply with conditions a restricted road freight licence (see above).
Where a mechanically propelled vehicle is hired to a person under a hire purchase agreement or otherwise leased and the owner of the vehicle neither provides a driver or causes a driver to be provided, then the person to whom the vehicle is hired, rented or leased is deemed to be owner of the vehicle under the Transport Act.
Where the holder of a carrier’s licence dies or becomes physically or legally incapable, the Minister is to be notified of death of incapacity. If he is survived by a relative, the Minister if satisfied that the relative has prior to the death incapacity not less than three years’ experience in the conduct of the business and complies with requirements in relation to good repute, the Minister may notwithstanding the principal Act, grant the relative a carrier’s licence subject to such conditions as may be specified and the previous licence shall be cancelled.
A relative is a husband, wife, person related by blood in the first, second or third degree, the husband of a person so related and the wife of any person so related. A licence so granted lasts three years.
There is also provision for a temporary permission to carry on business where a person dies or become physically or legally incapable of carrying on business. The Minister may to avoid hardship grant a permission on application being made. The permission authorises the business to be carried on by a named person for up to a year.
The European Communities (Merchandise Road Transport) Regulations deal with the admission to the occupation of road haulier in national and international transport operations. It provides for the mutual recognition of diplomas, certificates, and other qualifications for haulage operators and road transport operators.
A person may not engage in the carriage of goods by road for hire or reward in a vehicle or a combination of vehicles, including a trailer with a weight excess of 3.5 tons owned by an undertaking, unless it holds a carrier’s licence. Breach of the legislation is an offence.
An undertaking may not use a vehicle hired from another for carriage of goods by road unless
- the hire contract relates solely to the hire of the vehicle without a driver and is not accompanied by a service contract with the undertaking covering driving or accompanying personnel.
- the hire vehicle is at the sole disposal of the undertaking using it and the hired vehicle is driven by the personnel of the undertaking using it.
Certain documents must be carried onboard the vehicle including the contract of hire and an extract from the contract giving the name of the lessor and lessee. Where the driver is not the person hiring the vehicle, the driver’s employment contract or an e extract from it. A register is maintained of persons holding certificates of competence under the regulation. Key changes must be registered.
The Road Transport Act 1999
A road freight carrier’s licence or a road passenger transport operator’s licence is to have a five year term. It may be revoked or suspended by the Minister during its currency subject to procedures.
The Minister may grant a restricted road freight licence to a person authorising him to import the vehicle or use it for the purpose of merchandise road transport in the state subject to such condition as the Minister sees fits. The Minister may by order declare that the a licence or class of licences granted by the authority of a state which is party to an international agreement is be deemed to be restricted road freight licences.
The restricted road freight licence holder may not deliver goods in the State which are being loaded in the State. A person who is holder or deemed to be holder of a restricted road freight licence in respect of a vehicle is not required to hold a road freight carrier’s licence or obtain a transport vehicle in respect of it. The Minister may charge such fees as he determines in respect of a restricted road freight licence or a deemed licence.
The Minister shall on application issue transport discs in respect of road freight carrier’s licence, road passenger transport operator’s licence or a community licence for each vehicle operated. The application is in such form and accompanied by such fee as is prescribed. It is valid for up to five years. There is provision for replacement where it is lost, worn out etc.
No person shall operate a vehicle for the carriage of passengers under a road passenger transport operator’s licence or merchandise under a road freight carrier’s licence unless a transport disc has been issued. Where a transport disc has been issued, no person shall operate the vehicle unless the disc is displayed in accordance with instructions issued in relation to the disc. It may not operate the vehicle if the disc is worn or defaced.
Where a vehicle in respect of which a disc has been issued, ceases to be used in connection with the operation by the holder of a licence, it is to be returned to the Minister. Contravention is an offence.
The Minister may make regulations in relation to transport discs. The provisions of the principal legislation applicable to vehicle plates apply to transport discs. The holder of a road freight carrier’s licence or road passenger transport operator’s licence shall ensure adequate parking space at its operating premises are provided from the State for the vehicle is being operated or intended to be operated. This is deemed a condition of the licence.
It is an offence to alter a licensing document or to engage in the carriage or goods or passengers while in possession of an altered or forged document.
The Road Traffic and Transport Act 2006 makes provision for granting licences to road haulage and road transport operators.
It provides for the grant of an international road haulage operator’s licence that entitles the holder to carry on road haulage business for hire or reward within the State and outside the State with such vehicles as may be specified. A national road haulage operator’s licence entitles the carrier to carry on the business of road haulage for reward within the State only.
The 1999 act as amended provides that an international road haulage operator’s licence and international road passenger transport operator’s licence and national road haulage operator’s licence and a national road passenger transport operator’s licence are deemed licences granted under the 2006 act.