Every entrepreneur who wants to do business in road transport is required to have a permit issued by the competent state authority. The role of this state authority is to investigate whether the entrepreneur satisfies all legal conditions for doing business in the sector, as well as to issue licenses and supervise the conduct of business in road transport. These state authorities include the Transport Ministry, the Regional Transport Office, and the Business License Office, as well as the police force and the customs authorities.
A permit for road transport conducted by vehicles whose weight including a towed vehicle is less than 3.5 tons is a trade license that is issued according to the Small Businesses Act. In order to pursue such business, the applicants must satisfy the general conditions of ß 6 section 1 of the above act: they must be at least 18 years old, of legal capacity, and of good character. If the Trade License Office finds that the application for the trade license meets all the legal requirements, and that the entrepreneur meets the terms and conditions stipulated by the Small Businesses Act, the Trades License Office shall issue a license not later than within 7 days of the date of receipt of the application.
Doing business in domestic charter bus transport, domestic freight road transport and in taxi services also requires a trade license, which is issued according to the Small Businesses Act. Any person intending to pursue a licensed trade is obliged to apply for a trade license to the Trades License Office in their area. In addition to the general conditions, the entrepreneur also has to comply with special conditions which include professional qualifications and financing.
Proof of professional qualifications is provided in the form of a certificate by the legal representative of the entrepreneur. The Regional Transport Office issues the certificate to individuals who pass a written exam in front of a board of examiners.
The financial requirement means that the entrepreneur must demonstrate the financial backing to be able to launch and pursue his/her road transport business. This means that the entrepreneur must own at least 9,000 EUR in assets for the first vehicle and at least 5,000 EUR or its equivalent in Slovak crowns for every additional vehicle. The amount of the assets owned is taken from the entrepreneur's annual final accounts. The entrepreneur can prove this financial backing also by furnishing an extract from the Commercial Register or a property deed, a liability contract with a bank, an insurance contract, a leasing agreement or a deed of association. The Trades License Office decides on the application within 30 days of the date it was submitted.
Domestic regular bus transport and international road transport
International road transport consists of the transport of passengers or goods by motor vehicles where the starting point and target destination lie in two different countries.
Entrepreneurs who intend to pursue domestic regular bus transport, international charter bus transport, international freight road transport or international taxi service must apply for a special permit according to the Road Transport Act. The Regional Transport Office issues the license within 30 days of the receipt of the application; it is valid for five years.
Each international freight road transport license is granted for a certain number of vehicles. The application must contain the number and type of the vehicles used to pursue the international freight road transport, as well as documents proving the integrity and professional qualifications of the legal representative, the company's financial backing, and the serviceability of the entrepreneur's vehicles.
Every individual wishing to pursue international freight road transport from Slovak territory to the territory of a foreign country must obtain an entry permit from the foreign country. Freightage permits can be issued as individual permits for one transport or as permanent permits for an unlimited number of transports for a maximum defined period of one year. After Slovakia became a member of the European Community, freightage permits were replaced by the License of the Community for International Freight Road Transport, according to Council Directive No. 881/92 on Admission to the Freight Road Transport Market. The License of the Community is issued by the Transport Ministry upon application by an entrepreneur, who is then entitled to pursue international freight road transport.
Legal duties of the carrier during international freight road transport
The carrier has several duties during the performance of international freight road transport under the Road Transport Act, including:
* to be insured against liability for damages inflicted by the operation of the vehicles and the activity of the crew to the shipper, receiver and any third persons;
* to insure the crew in case they need medical treatment;
* to ensure that every vehicle carries proof of the carriage permits and the rental contracts on the vehicles;
* to ensure that the rented vehicles are registered in Slovakia (in case of foreign carriers, the vehicles must be registered in the country where the carrier is based);
* to meet any obligations from the transportation of dangerous goods in line with the European Convention on the International Road Transport of Dangerous Goods (ADR); and
* meet obligations from the transportation of perishable food items according to the European Convention on the International Road Transport of Perishable Food (ATP).
If an entrepreneur violates the provisions of the Road Transport Act, the state authorities may impose a fine of up to Sk500,000.
By Partner Gerta Sámelová-Flassiková
and Partner Ján Voloch
19. Feb 2007 at 0:00