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If you want to transport 10 tonnes of steel billets from your factory in Pune to your client’s facility in Chennai, you will need to hire a truck with a national permit to transport the consignment. Every consignment a business transports on a commercial vehicle is governed by road transport regulations in India.


Goods transport rules in India are set forth by the following acts:

  • Motor Vehicles Act, 1988
  • Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989
  • Road Transport Corporations Act, 1950
  • Carriage by Road Act, 2007
  • Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989

These four acts define the road transport policy for both commercial and passenger vehicles. These acts laid down rules to be followed for registration of a vehicle in India, permit licence for transporting goods across the country and so on.

Transport regulations in India for commercial vehicles

Given below are the transportation rules and regulations set up by road transport acts passed by the Indian government for commercial vehicles:

Vehicle registration under the Carriage by Road Act, 2007

According to the Carriage by Road Act of 2007, a carriage owner who has started carrying goods on his vehicles must apply for a registration within ninety days from the date of commencement. If you have continued to transport without the commercial vehicle registration, then you would need to cease all transport operations on the expiry of one hundred and eighty days from the date of such commencement.

National permit under the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989

As per the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, all transport vehicles travelling across state borders must possess a national permit. A national permit, also known as All India permit, is a license that allows commercial vehicles to carry goods across the country.

To get a national permit your vehicle must satisfy the below eligibility criteria:

  • A goods carriage vehicle, other than multi-axle vehicle, should not be more than twelve years.
  • A multi-axle goods carriage should not be more than fifteen years old
  • A puller tractor should not be more than fifteen years old
  • A multi-axle trailer approved to carry a gross vehicle weight of more than 50 tonnes, should not be more than 25 years old

Vehicle fitness certificate under the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989

A certificate of fitness must be obtained by the owner of the vehicle along with registration certificate according to the road transport regulations of India. As per the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, a valid fitness certificate must have been issued to every goods transport vehicle.

The renewal of the fitness certificate for heavy and medium goods vehicles up to eight years old shall be after every two years and after every one year for vehicles older than eight years. No fitness certification shall be required at the time of registration for the new goods vehicles sold as fully built vehicles and such vehicles shall be deemed to have fitness certification for a period of two years from the date of registration.

Other transport regulations in India

There are also other road transport regulations goods carrier vehicles are supposed to follow which are put forward by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

Maximum safe axle weight

The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways increased the permissible truck axle load in 2018. The   maximum safe axle weight of each axle type in relation to the transport vehicles (other than motor cabs), with regard to the size, nature and number of tyres is as follows:

Axle type Maximum safe axle weight
Single axle
Single axle with a single tyre 3.0 tonnes
Single axle with two tyres 7.5 tonnes
Single axle with four tyres 11.5 tonnes
Tandem axles (two axles) (where the distance between two axles is less than 1.8 Million)
Tandem axle for rigid vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers 21 tonnes
Tandem axle for puller tractors for hydraulic and pneumatic trailers 28.5 tonnes
Tri–axles (Three axles) (where the distance between outer axles is less than 3M
Tri-axle for rigid vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers 27 tonnes
Axle row (two axles with four tyres each) in modular hydraulic trailers 18 tonnes
Axle row (single axle with four tyres each) in modular hydraulic trailers 9 tonnes

Maximum speed of the vehicle

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has revised the maximum speed of goods vehicles in 2018. Given below is the maximum speed for goods transport vehicles on different types of roads:

  • Expressway with access control – 80 kmph
  • 4 lane and above divided carriageway (Roads with median strips/dividers) – 80kmph
  • Road within municipal limits – 60 kmph
  • Other roads – 60 kmph

e-Way bill

The e-Way bill system was implemented from 1 April 2018. Transporters carrying goods by road must possess an e-Way Bill authorising the movement of goods from one place to another. This bill can be generated by the supplier of the goods or by the transporter himself before the movement of the goods.

This bill can be generated on the e-Way bill portal and must be compulsorily generated if the value of goods being moved is more than ₹50000.

Also read: Shipping bill: Meaning, details, formats


Mandatory documents to be carried during goods transport

Goods transport vehicles can be stopped at check posts so the transport authorities can check the documents and verify the goods carried by the vehicle. Therefore, a few documents must be carried and must be present with the vehicle driver during the movement of goods namely:

  • Certificate of fitness
  • Certificate of insurance
  • Certificate of registration
  • National permit (if goods transport is interstate)
  • Taxation certificate
  • Invoice, bill of supply, delivery challan as required
  • A copy of e-Way bill, e-Way bill number or e-Way bill mapped to a Radio Frequency Identification Device, RFID

Transport authorities can stop and check your goods vehicle at any check post. Therefore, you must always have all the mandatory documents in your vehicle. This will prevent penalties being put on your vehicles leading to added logistics costs.

Priyanka Babu

Priyanka is a seasoned content marketing professional with more than 6 years of experience crafting various forms of business and technology sector content. Her insightful writing tackles critical issues faced by small-scale manufacturing businesses. Priyanka’s clear and concise communication empowers businesses to make informed decisions and thrive in today’s dynamic business environment.