Cabotage, meaning the national carriage of goods for hire or reward carried out by non-resident hauliers on a temporary basis in a host Member State, is governed by Regulation (EC) 1072/2009 as of 14 May 2010. This regulation replaced Regulations (EEC) No 881/92 and (EEC) No 3118/93, as well as Directive 2006/94/EC. The aim of the regulation is to improve the efficiency of road freight transport by reducing empty trips after the unloading of international transport operations.
Article 8 of the Regulation provides that every haulier is entitled to perform up to three cabotage operations within a seven days period starting the day after the unloading of the international transport.
A haulier may decide to carry out one, two or all three cabotage operations in different Member States and not necessarily the Member State in which the international transport was delivered. In this case only one cabotage operation is allowed in a given Member State to be carried out within three days of entering that Member State without cargo.