Using road transport for international trade
Road transport can be the most flexible option for your international business, especially within Africa. The motorway network is good and crossing national borders is usually quick and efficient.
- relatively low cost
- extensive road networks – scheduled delivery days and next day delivery services are a viable option
- you can schedule transport to suit you and you can track the location of goods
- consignments can be secure and private
But there are also risks for road transport:
- long distances overland can take more time
- there can be traffic delays and breakdowns
- there is the risk of goods being damaged, especially over long distances
- toll charges are high in some countries
- some countries have different road and traffic regulations
You can either use your own vehicles, or a carrier. If you operate your own vehicles, you will need to consider licences, fuel costs, regulations, driver training and tax.
Different types of carrier, include:
- Couriers – specialise in the speedy and secure delivery of small goods and packages. Find a courier service in your area on the Locateacourier website.Daks Couriers provides standard courier services in Uganda.
- Hauliers – will collect goods from your premises and deliver them by road.
- Freight forwarders – consolidate shipments and have a detailed knowledge of the rules and regulations that your business must comply with. See the guide on choosing and managing a freight forwarder and see the guide on using brokers and forwarders.
Consider your requirements carefully before making your choice. For more information, see the guide on moving goods by road.
Goods-in-transit insurance can protect you if goods are lost or damaged when transported. Road haulage falls under the Convention des Marchandises Routiers (CMR) which sets out conditions for transporting goods by road. This gives basic cover, but it’s advisable to take out extra insurance. See the guides on insurance for international trade and transport insurance.
The international transport of dangerous goods by road is subject to international legislation, in particular the European Agreement on the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR). Drivers of vehicles carrying dangerous goods must hold an ADR training certificate in handling dangerous goods. All commercial vehicles that carry dangerous goods must pass the ADR test, with some also having to be built to special standards. You can find information about inspections, test and the required documentation on the Department for Transport (DFT) website.
The following classes of goods are defined as dangerous:
- corrosive substances
- explosive substances and articles
- flammable liquids and solids
- oxidizing substances
- radioactive substances
- toxic substances
View the Carriage of Dangerous Goods manual on the HSE website. Also, see the guide on moving dangerous goods.
In Uganda and East Africa, Daks Couriers is a regional leader when it comes to road transport.