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Starting a transportation business in Germany

Step by step guide

The demand for transport companies in Germany (Transportunternehmen) is high, because every year the need for transportation of goods only increases. In this article we are going to tell you what is required for starting a transportation business in Germany, in what case you need a permit and what you should pay attention to.

Our company, Nexus-Europe GmbH, assists foreigners with starting and developing their own business in Germany and moving to Germany through business immigration or the EU Blue Card. Over 20 years of operation we have helped more than 7000 customers.

Get a residence permit in Germany through business immigration or a Blue Card: info@nexus-gmbh.biz

What you need to know when opening a transportation business in Germany

When it comes to transport companies (Transportunternehmen), there are two general cases:

  1. Vehicles with a total weight of less than 3.5 tonnes (including trailer)
  2. Vehicles with a total weight of 3.5 tonnes and more (including trailer)

Vehicles with a total weight of less than 3.5 tons

If your transport company in Germany is going to use vehicles that weigh less than 3.5 tons including trailer, the procedure is relatively simple. There are two general steps:

  1. Registering a transportation company in Germany
  2. Business registration (Gewerbeanmeldung)

Of course, when thinking about setting up a transportation company in Germany it is recommended to think the business model through and prepare a business plan in advance and also think about getting insurance, however once the formal steps are completed you are usually good to go. We have multiple articles on company registration in Germany and nuances that you should pay attention to as a foreigner. Make sure to check them out.

Vehicles with a total weight of 3.5 tons and more

If you plan to use vehicles that weigh 3.5 tons or more, the procedure of opening a transportation business in Germany would be more complicated. You’ll also require a special permit for such an activity. Here are the steps to get your business going:

1. Registering a transportation company in Germany

Obviously, this step is essential to starting any business.

2. Obtaining a road haulage permit (Güterkraftverkehrserlaubnis)

When opening a transportation company in Germany (Transportunternehmen) with vehicles of 3.5 tons you need to get a road haulage permit for this activity. The permit is issued by the responsible Traffic Authority and allows you to do business in Germany. It costs around 300 euro depending on the region and can be valid for up to 10 years. To apply for the permit, you need to provide the documents proving the following:

  • Professional qualification (fachliche Eignung)
  • Personal reliability (persönliche Zuverlässigkeit)
  • Financial capability (finanzielle Leistungsfähigkeit)

Proving financial capability means providing proof of adequate liquidity for your transport company in Germany: as of 2022, 9 000 euro for the first vehicle that weighs more than 3.5 tons and 5 000 euro for each additional vehicle.

3. Business registration (Gewerbeanmeldung)

Just like any other business, your transportation company in Germany needs Gewerbeanmeldung before you can start any business activity. The application is made through the competent Trade Office (Gewerbeamt) and costs between 10 and 65 euro depending on the region.

4. Appointing a transport manager (Verkehrsleiter)

All transport businesses that obtain a road haulage permit need to appoint a transport manager. This will be an important requirement when setting up a transportation business in Germany. The transport manager has to meet certain requirements, including proving their professional qualification, and these requirements might be different depending on the region the company is registered in.

5. Insurance (Versicherung)

As a rule, all vehicles in Germany with a total weight of 3.5 tons and more are to be insured. The insurance has to meet the requirements specified in the German Commercial Code.

6. EU community licence (EU-Gemeinschaftslizenz/EG-Lizenz)

If your vehicles need to cross borders within the EU, you need an EU community licence. It can also be obtained for up to 10 year.

Our company, Nexus-Europe GmbH provides turn-key solutions: from establishing a company (e.g. starting a transportation business in Germany) to obtaining all necessary permits. We can also assist you with obtaining the German residence permit because of business. Since all projects are guided by certified Project management professionals (PMP) you get a working business in Germany and ensured quality of performance. On time and on budget.

Contact us to open a business in Germany and move to Germany:


This document (and any information accessed through links in this document) is intended for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Each situation is unique and professional advice should always be obtained before taking or refraining from any action.

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