Cabotage and its regulation

What is cabotage?

Cabotage is the transport of people, goods or luggage between different places in the territory of a state without leaving it. In the past, it was only used for navigation, but it has been extended to air and land transport. Therefore, it is used to name the movement made by a transport between different places in the same country.

cabotaje regulación España

Legislation on cabotage in land transport in Europe and Spain.

There is legislation in force that regulates this type of service at European level.

Cabotage can only be carried out in member countries of the European Union, its regulation is contained in Regulation (EC) No 1073/2009 of the European Parliament and Council of 21 October 2009.

In some countries such as Spain, due to the ambiguity that accompanies the definition of cabotage in the European one, other more restrictive laws have been established.

The definition of cabotage according to European level is: “national transport of passengers for hire or reward, carried out, on a temporary basis, in another Member State, without having a head office or other establishment there”.

Spain regulates it in the following way:

  • In order to be able to carry out cabotage transport, it is essential for there to be a prior international transport service from a Member State or a third country and for there to be a discharge in a Member State, known as the host State.
  • Once the goods have been delivered in the course of an international transport operation, up to three cabotage operations may be carried out following a transport operation from another Member State. And, the last unloading in the course of a transport must take place within seven days of the last unloading in the host state.

Curiosities of cabotage.

  • It comes from Latin. Caput + the suffix Caput can be translated as head.
  • It is used in the field of transport of goods or passengers.
  • There is controversy as to the origin of the term. One of the theories awards the property to the Venetian marine explorer Sebastián Caboto. This is how it is considered, because since the 16th century, he dedicated himself to travelling along the eastern coast of North America by means of a cabotage navigation.
  • Another of the theories, argues that in transport by sea, is usually developed by a navigation near the coast, ie cabo to cabo.

We hope that with this post you have learned something about the term cabotage and how it is legislated from Europe and from Spain. As in our country, there are many European states that regulate this type of transport.

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