The authorised dimensions, weights and axle loads which a transport in Germany may not exceed are laid down by the StVZO, Germany’s Road Traffic Licensing Regulations, and the StVO, Germany’s Road Traffic Regulations. Permits for abnormal transports in Germany are issued in the form of single permits (Einzelerlaubnis), general permits (Dauererlaubnis) and special permits (Ausnahmegenehmigung).

For heavy transports, the vehicles and vehicle combinations whose dimensions, axles loads and/or total laden weight exceed the limits specified by the StVZO require an special permits (Ausnahmegenehmigung) in accordance with § 70 StVZO for the special technical equipment of the vehicle. This permit also specifies guidelines for the attachment of safety equipment such as warning signs and flashing lights or the repositioning of side lights. The Ausnahmegenehmigung can also be included in the documents delivered with the vehicle from the manufacturer.

The use of the vehicle for a specific transport, including load, must be approved separately. For this purpose, an application must be submitted for either an single permit (Einzelerlaubnis) or a general permit (Dauererlaubnis) in accordance with § 29 StVO. In this context, the responsible authorities will assess whether the vehicle can be used on the planned route with transport dimensions and/or weights which are above the legal limits with respect to road conditions/parameters and traffic considerations. A Dauererlaubnis is valid for a period of up to three years for one or more specified routes. The Einzelerlaubnis is generally valid for one or more trips within a onemonth period on one or more specified routes.

If the vehicle itself complies with the legal limits for dimensions and weights but is to be used for transporting a load which projects past the boundaries of the vehicle, a special permit (Ausnahmegenehmigung) in accordance with § 46 StVO for the transport of loads with excessive widths, heights or lengths must be requested.

The applications related to §§ 46 and 29 StVO have been combined in one form.

The responsible authorities vary from state to state. In some cases, all applications can be applied for at the lower traffic authorities on the municipal level. Or a higher traffic authority on the state level is responsible (as in the states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Brandenburg).

For applications regarding oversized transports, the information on axle-load, distance between axles and on tyres is not required.

If the transport shall cross the borders of other municipalities or administrative districts, (intra-official) permits from the other affected authorities must be collected through the responsible traffic authority. The application from the haulage contractor cannot be approved until these permits have been issued. Currently, this communication between the municipalities is generally carried out in paper form because of the differences in the procedures followed by the individual municipalities for the processing of applications and permits. The responsible municipality will assess whether the route specified in the application is passable for the transport with respect to dimensions and weight. The permit may include special conditions such as the lowering of the load when passing beneath bridges, the dismantling of signs, the removal of construction sites, the trimming of greenery, the requirement of a police escort or escort by private safety vehicles, or a no-stopping provision for certain sections of the route.

The application procedure takes, on average, between one and three weeks, and the fees, in accordance with the official fee scale for road traffic measures, can amount to between 10.20 and 767.00 euros.