Illegal cabotage leads to refusal to return truck


A Romanian haulage company has failed in its attempt to have an impounded truck released after the traffic commissioner (TC) found it had previously been warned about illegal cabotage operations.

JIP International claimed it had not received a DVSA letter warning it against continued illegal cabotage after one of its vehicles was directed out of the UK in March 2019.

A traffic examiner impounded a lorry belonging to the firm in November 2019 after documents revealed it was performing its fifth cabotage operation since completing its incoming international journey in the UK eight days previously.

Regulations state that once goods on an incoming international journey are delivered, the operator may carry out up to three cabotage operations within seven days.

At a Birmingham hearing, JIP’s general manager, Zhalba Petar, told TC Nick Denton that he had not received a letter from the DVSA in April 2019 warning him about illegal cabotage.

The TC said it was possible the letter had gone astray, due to a spelling error in the town’s name. However, the DVSA’s traffic examiner said that when the firm’s lorry was directed out of the UK in March, the driver would have been given paperwork explaining why it was breaking the rules.

Petar told the TC his vehicle was a tractor unit and had been picking up trailers that had arrived from mainland Europe by ship at Tilbury and taking them to UK destinations.

In his view, these were international journeys and not cabotage.

But TC Denton considered previous decisions on this subject, which stated that a trailer can only take part in international carriage if it is coupled to a tractor unit.

Summing up, the TC said any company engaged in international haulage should be familiar with cabotage rules and JIP would have been in no doubt that picking up unaccompanied trailers from ports was cabotage work.

He refused the application and commented: “The company had already been informed in March that what it was doing was illegal.

“This decision will be notified to the applicant and to DVSA and it will be for DVSA to dispose of the vehicle once the 28 day period for appeal has ended

Used Iveco Stralis: 10 common problems


Click here to view all of the used Iveco Stralis tractor units we have in stock.

While historically IVECO has been plagued with complaints about build quality, things have improved a great deal over the past few years, so the number of things to look out for has fallen accordingly. It is worth noting that all our operators, without prompting, said that their rigids were far more solid and reliable than the Stralis tractors on their fleets – and not because the tractors were particularly bad! There are however, as always, a few niggles worth being aware of. Here are some issues we’ve heard of with some of the high mileage, less cared for trucks.


1. Warning lights

Erroneous dashboard warning lights, usually related to the engine or gearbox, were reported by most of our operators. The good news, however, is that these usually clear if the ignition is turned off for a minute or two, leaving no trace of a fault on the diagnostics.


2. Electrical problems

More real electrical problems are reported to occur behind the dashboard and footwell, caused by water leaking into the door pillars and filling them up. Cause unknown.


3. Interior trim

Interior trim defects are still common on these trucks, especially where multiple drivers are using the vehicle, and consequently less care is taken.


4. Door reflectors

Following on from that, the small triangular reflectors set into the driver’s door panel regularly shatter. This happens when drivers push the seat all the way back without checking the seatbelt is fully retracted first. The belt runs through the back of the seat, and becomes trapped between that and the bunk. This leaves the metal end flapping around, which then smashes the reflector.


5. Propshaft joints

Some operators have had issues with propshaft centre joint failures.


6. Hydraulic steering

Some problems with the hydraulic pressure dropping on rear-steer models like ours, leaving the wheels to turn in the opposite direction to that intended.


7. Sunroof

Leaky sunroof seals – but from where the frame meets the cab NOT where the glass meets the frame. Worth being aware of as it took one of our operators many attempts to solve this.


8. Door hinge

Reports that doors are vulnerable to being bent when thrown open or caught by the wind. This leads to air whistling and water leaking in along the top, where the door no longer lines up with the frame.


9. Check-strap

Also, the check-strap bolted to the bottom hinge on the doors is known to become weak to the point where it snaps.


10. AdBlue

Regular AdBlue faults reported, of various flavours.