Cabotage is the transport of goods or passengers between two points within a country other than the carrier’s home country.

Cabotage is in principle not permitted, cf. Section 10 (3) of the Professional Transport Act.

A foreign carrier can only transport goods or passengers between two points in Norway on exceptional grounds. However, carriers from the EEA are entitled to carry out temporary cabotage in Norway.

Transport of goods

As a result of the lack of clarity that has been associated with the term ‘temporary cabotage’ , clearer rules for when cabotage is permitted have been set out in the new Regulations on common rules for access to the international road haulage market.  A carrier holding a Community licence who delivers goods hauled in an international carriage operation in an EEA state (cross-border transport) may carry out cabotage operations on the following conditions:

  • The cabotage operations must be carried out using the same vehicle that was used for the incoming international carriage to the host state
  • A maximum of three cabotage operations can be carried out following the incoming international carriage
  • Unloading after the last cabotage operation must take place within seven days of delivery of the incoming international carriage in the host state.

Passenger transport

The restrictions mentioned in the previous paragraph do not apply to the carriage of passengers. Cabotage is permitted for touring coaches, for special scheduled transport if a contract exists between the transport operator and the client, and for regular scheduled transport when the transport is part of an international route and the intention is to meet transport needs in an urban area or to and from adjoining urban areas. Over and above this, cabotage operations may only be carried out on a temporary basis.

Regulations and considerations

In connection with a revision of the EEA regulations concerning entry to the road haulage market and the occupation of road transport operator,  the European Council has adopted common rules for access to the market for the international carriage of goods and passengers by road. These are part of what is known as the ‘road package’, which includes three regulations relating to road transport.

The background for the new rules is primarily the need for clearer rules for road transport, which will also simplify the control of cabotage operations in Norway. In this context, reference is made in particular to the industry’s wish for the regulations to be practised in this way, and that other EEA states are planning to introduce such a scheme.