1. Road transport: types of vehicles

Types of transports: physical distribution, express.
Loadable weight: ± 350 kg
Dimensions: ± 160 x 70 x 70 cm

Small Vans:
Types of transports: physical distribution, express.
Loadable weight: ± 450 kg
Dimensions: ± 150 x 110 x 110 cm

Types of transports: physical distribution, express.
Loadable weight: 1400-1500 kg
Dimensions: ± 260 x 120 x 150 cm

Types of transports: groupages, part loads.
Loadable weight: 10-15 tons
Dimensions: up to 800 x 245 x 250 cm

Types of transports: groupages, part loads, full loads.
Loadable weight: 24-25 tons, following the country’s legislation
Dimensions: 1360 x 245 x 260 cm

Types of transports: groupages, part loads, full loads, high volumes.
Loadable weight: 24-25 tons, following the country’s legislation
Dimensions: variable

– The dimensions and weights given above are for information only and may vary according to the vehicle.
– The maximum weight per vehicle may vary according to the country.


2. Road transport: types of transport

Express :
Direct and emergency transport from point A to point B. The vehicle is sent specifically to the point of collection and directly completes the delivery. The calculated rate is based on the total kilometres, “door to door” basis

Physical distribution:
Transport of small parcels (generally up to 50kg) on planned tours.

Groupages :
Collection or delivery of packages or pallets organized in a tour system. After collection, the shipment is unloaded in the store and grouped with other shipments for the same destination.

Part loads:
Large and/or heavy loads which will serve as basis for the vehicle loading. They are usually brought back to the store but not unloaded, to be completed with groupage shipments and reach a full load.

Full loads:
Single shipments into a vehicle (usually a semi-trailer).

Exceptional transports (or oversized):
Any shipment of which at least one characteristic (size or weight) exceeds the limits permitted by the laws of transport of the concerned country. The transport will then be subject to a transport permit issued by the competent authorities, through the introduction by the carrier of a complete file and the establishment of a specific route. A driver car and a police escort may be needed to accompany the convoy.


3. The CMR convention

Definition :
The CMR convention is a set of regulations established by several countries (including almost all European countries) in order to determine the rights and obligations of each actor involved in carrying out a road transport contract.

Creation :
The CMR convention was signed on 19th May 1956. It has been applicable in Belgium since September 1962.

Field of application:
Applies to all carriages of goods (including live animals) carried out by road, using vehicles and subject to payment, in two different countries, one of which, at least, is contracting.
Note: Baggage is not regarded as goods.

– The shipper (= the one who loads);
– Successive carrier(s), including the freight forwarder;
– The consignee

Transport document:

The way bill CMR
The establishment of a road transport contract is written down in a the CMR waybill It must be established in at least three originals:
– One copy for the shipper;
– One copy for the consignee (accompanying the goods);
– One copy for the carrier.
(A fourth copy is for administrative purposes).

Transport information must be recorded on this document, such as:
names and addresses of the shipper, carrier and consignee;
the date and place of the collection;
the place intended for the delivery;
the number of packages, their nature, weight and dimensions;
the signatures of the shipper, carrier and consignee.

The CMR also provides the possibility for the shipper, driver and consignee to notify remarks (eg related to the apparent condition of the goods, its packaging, its lashing and securing, etc..)

In case of a non-drafting of a way bil, transportation remains subject to the CMR agreement. We strongly recommend you to establish one, because it can be very useful in case of dispute.

CMR Insurance:
In case of total or partial damage due to the carrier, the agreement provides for compensation where the ceiling is set at 8.33 SDR per gross kg of goods.

SDR = Special Drawing Right of the International Monetary Fund. This unit of account is subject to fluctuations, the exact value varies on a daily basis. We can consider that 8.33 SDR is equal to about ten euros.

However the CMR insurance is in no circumstances the substitute for goods insurance “all risks”. Comment Multitra: for any question about the CMR convention, you can also visit the website Febetra (Belgian Federation of Road Transport Operators) : www.febetra.be/fr/home.php


4. Sea transport: types of transport

FCL (Full Container Load) :
Full load in full sea container.
They usually are 20’ or 40’ containers.

LCL (Less than Container Load) :
Groupage service in sea containers.

The shipment is loaded with others in a sea container by a LCL agent.

Non-containerized shipments loaded as such on the ship.
They usually are oversized or bulk shipments.


5. The containers

There are many different types of containers.
Below is a non-exhaustive list and their main specifications.
The most common sizes used in Europe are the 20 feet and the 40 feet.

The norm ISO 668 defines the standard external dimensions as follows:
20′: length 6058 mm – width 2438 mm – height 2438 mm
40′: length 12,192 mm – width 2438 mm – height 2438 mm
The norm ISO 1496-1 defines the minimum standardized internal dimensions for the containers “General Purpose” as follows:
20′: length 5867 mm – width 2333 mm – height 2197 mm
40 ‘: length 11,998 mm – width 2333 mm – height 2197 mm
(note a slight reduction in width and height at the doorway)



Payload limitations are more often related to port and transport legislations of each country than to technical matter. Please consult us.
The tare also varies from one type to another as well as from one manufacturer to another.
For convenience, consider:
20′: tare 2500/3000 kg, ± payload 22000 kg
40′: tare 4000/5000 kg, ± payload 26000 kg

Types of containers:
“General purpose”: also called Dry Van or Box. They are classic and closed containers.
“High Cube General Purpose”: Containers “Hard Top” high volumes
“Open Top”: containers without roof. Can be covered with a tarpaulin.
“Flat Rack”: containers without roof nor side surfaces. Reinforced floor.
“High Cube Flat Rack”: containers “Flat Rack” big-volumes.
“Platform”: containers without roof nor side, front and rear surfaces. Reinforced floor.
“Refrigerated”: temperature-controlled containers.
“High Cube Refrigerated”: containers “Refrigerated” big-volumes.
“Bulk”: containers for dry bulks.
“Tank”: containers-tanks for liquids.

6. The jargon of maritime transport

B/L : Bill of Lading
This is the transport document, the transport contract and the title deed of the goods.

It can be negotiated.

FCL : Full Container Load
Full load in sea container.

LCL : Less than Container Load
Groupage in sea container.

BAF : Bunker Adjustment Factor
Fuel surcharge applied to sea freight.

CAF : Currency Adjustment Factor
Exchange rates surcharge applied to sea freight.

THC : Terminal Handling Charges
Port charges for container handling.

ETS : Estimated Time of Shipping
Or ETD: Estimated Time of Departure
Planned date for the ship departure

ETA : Estimated Time of Arrival
Planned date for the ship arrival at the port of destination

TEU : Twentyfeet Equivalent Unit
Load unit corresponding to a 20’ container.

w/m : Weight/Measurement

In groupage (LCL) and in conventional (bulks), sea freight rates are given per “payable unit“.
“w/m” means that the payable unit is either the ton or the m3. It is always the largest of the two that is considered.
For instance a shipment of 3 tons and 5m3 will be charged on the basis of the 5 m3.
A shipment of 4 tons and 2 m3 will be charged on the basis of the 4 tons.