Episode 4: Who is responsible for securing the load?

Container identification | Who is responsible for load securing? | Friction value on the truck | Incoming container inspection

Episode 4: Who is responsible for securing the load?

Truck Livetests | Who is responsible for load securing?

Very simple - always the other 😊

The existing sense of justice leaves many people involved in the transport already in the basic features, if it is asked for "the" responsible person. Thereby always at least 2 or more vicarious agents meet.

When transporting goods according to German law (e.g. freight law according to §§ 407ff. HGB, forwarding law according to §§ 453 ff. HGB, ADSp) or according to international law (international carriage by road according to CMR), different vicarious agents of the contracting parties always meet. The transport of goods is almost always subject to these conditions.

The physical handover of the goods to be transported does not have to be performed by the shipper or consignor, who can also commission third parties for this purpose. This is not unusual and naturally also applies to the transport of dangerous goods.

About the author:

In a series of specialist articles from the field, on topics relating to containers and trucks, you will receive first-hand professional knowledge.
How to secure cargo correctly and what are the basics of cargo securing?

They are developed and presented by Wolfgang Neumann, Managing Director of EUROSAFE:

  • EU Commission Member of the Cargo Securing Expert Group
  • Court expert Ö.b.u.v. expert packaging & load securing (incl. dangerous goods) road, rail and sea transport / IHK Hanau
  • EURO EXPERT Person-certified expert in land, sea and air transport for load securing, packaging, load unit formation, large and heavy transports as well as cause analysis and damage assessment according to DIN/EN/ISO 17024
  • VDI Member of the VDI Guidelines Committee 308.2
  • VDI 2700 Sheet 18 Load securing of big bags and bagged goods (palletized); chairman
  • CEN EN 17321
  • EUMOS Founder of the European Association of Transport Safety Experts/ Brussels
  • EU-Projects CARING; C.A.S.H. (Police Training EU).

Episode 4: Who is responsible for securing the load?

Operating safety

Operational safety must be provided by the vehicle driver and forwarder. The technical equipment and the aids carried must be in technically perfect condition. The driver and the forwarder are also responsible for checking the lashing equipment (annual inspection).

Insofar as a so-called "sub-forwarder relationship" arises, the obligations for operational safety must be complied with without restriction. The vehicle driver must also determine the requirements for load distribution on site. This is not primarily the responsibility of the shipper, since the legal logic does not make him primarily competent for the vehicle provided, and certainly not primarily responsible for it.

Who is responsible for securing the load?

What are the obligations of the carrier / driver / forwarder (in self-employment) related to loading?


  • Safe loading (§ 412 HGB) - e.g. load distribution
  • Stowage of the load in a roadworthy manner (§ 22 para. 1 StVO)
  • Operation of the vehicle in accordance with the regulations and without interference (driver; § 23 Para. 1 StVO)

How can the legal requirement for operational safety be implemented by the driver?

  • He must provide a suitable and operationally safe vehicle
  • The vehicle must be approved in accordance with § 16 StVZO and, in accordance with § 30 Para. 1 No. 1 StVZO, must be constructed and equipped in such a way that its normal operation does not harm anyone or endanger, obstruct or inconvenience them more than is unavoidable.
  • Motor vehicle liability insurance in accordance with §§ 29 ff. StVZO must be present
  • The vehicle must be suitable for transporting the load (dimensions weight, loading/unloading) and, if necessary, have special technical equipment with regard to the load
  • Carrying standard load securing equipment appropriate to the load and reusable (e.g. technically flawless lashing equipment).

What are the steps drivers and shippers should take when loading?

The driver and the consignor/shipper agree on a proper weight distribution in advance. For this purpose, the driver/carrier or forwarder must determine the load distribution. He has the most knowledge about his vehicle and its technology.

The driver must instruct the loader to load the vehicle with regard to the maximum permissible single-axle weights. Here, the driver is authorized to give instructions.

The shipper must specify how his cargo is to be loaded in a manner safe for transport. Only he has the special knowledge required for this.

The driver must then check this, insofar as his specialist knowledge permits this at all. The driver has a duty to cooperate.

If it is evident that safe loading is not possible or not sufficient, the driver must inform the shipper of this circumstance and may also refuse the journey. Additional measures must be taken in order to comply with the statutory requirements of StVO § 22.

When is loading safe for transport?

Loading that is safe for transport exists when the safe operation of the vehicle is not impaired by the goods, no one can be endangered, hindered or inconvenienced and vehicle technical characteristics are complied with. This includes:

  • Compliance with the dimensions, axle loads as well as the load distribution plan
  • Stability of the vehicle and its body
  • Braking capability

The driver also has the obligation to inform the loader about the prescribed limits of the permissible total weight, axle loads and dimensions.

Stowage cushion for large stowage gaps for load securing in the container | Double chamber | Load securing product Rothschenk

Who must pay attention to the position of the center of gravity of the load and weight distribution.

The carrier, regardless of whether he or the shipper has to load, must ensure that the vehicle is able to cope with any traffic situation after loading and during the entire transport. This applies for the entire duration of the journey.

Accordingly, the goods loaded onto the vehicle must not inadmissibly impair either the stability of the vehicle or its braking ability. Furthermore, it must be ensured that the goods do not fall off the vehicle and that the safety regulations are also complied with in other respects. This applies in particular to the maximum permissible weight, extent of loading, securing of protruding goods, etc.


The more specialized knowledge is required to maintain operational safety, the higher the demands on the carrier. The carrier must therefore inquire about the weight and also the center of gravity of the goods (cf. Koller, TranspR-Kommentar, 10th edition, 2020, § 412, marginal no. 42).

Operational safety when loaded requires that the motor vehicle can safely carry the load under normal circumstances. The driver is responsible for this, even if others whom he does not supervise load the vehicle or if he takes over the vehicle for further guidance. In this regard, strict requirements must be placed on the driver's diligence. This applies in particular to large-volume and heavy transports.

Close-up of warehouse with Rothschenk forklift | Who is responsible for load securing?

Shipper obligations

Basic obligations of the shipper/consignor/client related to the loading process

There are different constellations how a loading transaction can be concluded. Usually it is the producer with his logistics department itself. However, in the course of outsourcing processes, it is also possible to commission responsible independent units that do not belong to the company. But be careful! If a contract is concluded in which specific tasks such as the loading of big bags are agreed, it must also be ensured that it is clear how this is to be done and in which vehicles.

But the most important point is, can the big bags with the products be transported safely at all or do they have to be transported in a container because of their special unstable switching. There must be clarity about this in outsourcing processes. If this is neglected, the partnership between producer and service provider will not be able to continue successfully in the event of disputes or accidents.

Load securing trainings

The following are the main obligations of the shipper:

  • Packing obligation (§ 411 HGB or No. 6 ADSp or Art. 10 CMR) or also GGVSEB/RID/ADR/IMDG/ICEO
  • Marking obligation (§ 411 HGB or No. 6.1.2 ADSp), important in case of off-center center of gravity, this must be recognizable (see also HPE guideline)
  • Duty to inform (§§ 410, 413 HGB resp. No. 3.3 . 3.6 ADSp), are there moving parts or even liquids inside the packaging or the transported goods that lead to a change in the physical behavior?
  • He is obliged to load (§ 412 HGB)
  • The shipper must provide the appropriate documents (e.g. waybill according to § 408 HGB or Art. 11 CMR)
  • He must ensure safe loading for transport (§ 412 HGB)
  • The load must be stowed in such a way that it is safe for traffic. (§ 22 para. 1 StVO)
Our header for beverages. A forklift driver receives instructions from an employee. In the background is a row of beer crates. | Who is responsible for securing the load?

What information must the shipper provide?

Providing information and intelligence; e.g.:

  • Dimensions, weight, tipping behavior of the load, as an exemption/permit may be required.
  • Contents of the packed shipment
  • Incompatibility (intercharge, contact with surface)
  • Provision of necessary papers / documents
  • B.: Dangerous goods papers, papers for int. transports (customs or similar)
  • The carrier is entitled to rely on the information provided by the shipper
  • Provide transportable cargo with transport-safe packaging and facilities for securing the cargo:
  • Transportability
  • A load is only fit for carriage if it can be secured by itself
  • Sensitive machines should be stowed in sturdy wooden crates, for example
  • Load, tension chains, equipment and other loading devices are to be stowed in a roadworthy manner
  • Transport-safe packaging (knowledge of goods at the shipper/producer)
Who is responsible for securing the load? | Services: Employees wear high-visibility vests with Rothschenk logo during a loading situation.

The following transport characteristics are decisive:

  • Vehicle, track (vibrations, centrifugal forces in tight curves)
  • Emergency situations (possible emergency braking)
  • Weather & season (heat, cold)
  • Securing individual packages on pallets / in the container
  • Sufficiently dimensioned facilities for load securing, e.g.: Lashing points, load zones
  • Carrying out the loading safe for transport:
  • Loading & Stowage: Requires the protection of the goods from loss or damage due to external influences customary in transportation.
  • Centrifugal forces during cornering
  • Acceleration forces during sudden braking and evasive maneuvers
  • Vertical forces due to poor road conditions as well as chafing, rubbing and pressing should be prevented
  • Fastening: Securing the load
  • using lashing straps, wedges or other suitable aids to protect the load against dynamic influences.
  • wĂ€hrend der Fahrt (s.o.) sichern
  • Secure the load from falling over, falling down and shifting on the loading area.
  • The shipper may not assume that the carrier, having regard to the excessive fragility of the goods, will particularly
  • drives carefully or slowly or avoids particularly bad roads
  • If the load exceptionally does not allow a transport within the legal vehicle dimensions and/or axle loads or total masses, an exceptional approval according to § 46 StVO and/or a permission according to § 29 Abs. 3 StVO is necessary.
  • The shipper must ensure within the scope of the approval notice that
  • the approved vehicle dimensions and loading gauge overruns
  • the permissible axle loads and gross weights
  • not be exceeded
  • If the shipper does not prevent an unauthorized transport, he acts in violation of the regulations. He therefore has the duty,

Anyone who frequently loads vehicles is usually familiar with the common types of vehicles and their permissible total weight. so he is expected to estimate the permissible payload of the vehicle. A considerable exceeding of the permissible weight can therefore be charged to him as intent.

Verification of (additional) marking for vehicles with excess width/excess length or for loads protruding beyond the vehicle (serve traffic safety as well as requirement of the permit).

Who is responsible for load securing? |Employees of G&H GmbH Rothschenk prepare a driving test with a forklift truck.

What other legal aspects of load securing need to be considered? You will learn more about this in the next episode.

Your Wolfgang Neumann.

Insight from the film set.

André BauerSales management - G&H GmbH Rothschenk

Picture company building Rothschenk
An employee of G&H GmbH Rothschenk sews a webbing strap to a dunnage bag.

On our own account:
Rothschenk. That's us.

Rothschenk is a manufacturer of load securing equipment for overseas containers. In the tranquil town of Aub in central Franconia, we develop, test and sell our own load securing equipment such as dunnage bags/padding, Lashing restraint systems, Edge Protectors, Anti-slip Mats, Lashing Straps and drum securement. You can get a small insight into our product world in our Online Shop: [R] SHOP24.

We develop for our customers, to whom also large corporations e.g. from the CHEMICALS-, BEVERAGES- and Automotive industry belong, individual load securing. Therefore we are used to come up with new products and solutions in our own research and test department.

We stand for quality "Made in Germany„. Not only in development, but also in production. Because we are the only manufacturer for load securing with our own production site in Germany. Real "Made in Germany" even.

>> Please use the comment function below for suggestions, additions and also for further questions.

We will, of course, respond promptly and professionally. Your Rothschenk Team

Share this post

Comments (9)

  • Lena Reply

    Thank you for the informative article on load securing. My uncle is a long distance truck driver and often has his truck weighed by HAENNI wheel load scale service. It is good to know that compliance with the dimensions, axle loads as well as the load distribution plan are important for safe loading.

    18. June 2021 at 11:56
    • Anonymous Reply

      Thank you for the positive feedback as well. We are always pleased when expert contributions contribute to safety - then our free blogs fulfill their purpose. HAENNI wheel truck support this, of course, with competent power. In this sense: "Have a good trip all the time". The Rothschenk Team

      18. June 2021 at 12:48
  • Dennis Becker Reply

    My uncle is currently looking for a transport company. It is good to know that the forwarding law applies. I hope that he will find a suitable provider.

    27. January 2022 at 21:32
    • Anonymous Reply

      Hello Dennis,
      Thank you for your comment. The points of safe loading, roadworthy stowage of the load, and compliant and unimpaired vehicle operation are indeed points that must be clarified in advance. Especially if you outsource the loading and transport, you can save yourself a lot of trouble. Good luck in your search for a suitable forwarding agency. Your Rothschenk Team.

      28. January 2022 at 08:54
  • Birgit Reply

    I can imagine that the braking ability is one of the most important points. After all, if the van is overloaded, it's probably harder to brake. I also find the regulation on the responsibility of the load exciting.

    26. April 2022 at 11:11
    • Anonymous Reply

      Hello Birgit, thank you for your feedback. Of course, the weight of the load has a lot of effect on the driving behavior of the truck, not only when braking. However, measures such as placing an anti-slip mat underneath can significantly increase the friction values. We recommend our blog articles on this subject, e.g.: https://rothschenk.de/folge-12-wie-funktioniert-eine-antirutschmatte/. LG, your Rothschenk Team.

      28. April 2022 at 11:50
  • Birgit Reply

    Hello Thomas. Thank you for the link. The skid mat probably adds a lot to safe driving during transports. Good luck to you and the company!

    29. April 2022 at 10:35
  • Nina Hayder Reply

    My husband works for a heavy transport company. So he knows very well that people always try to blame the other person if something goes wrong. Fortunately, however, this only happens very rarely.

    30. May 2022 at 07:37
  • Dennis Becker Reply

    My uncle is currently looking for a heavy duty transporter. In this context, it is good to know that there is also a freight forwarding law in Germany. I hope that he will find a suitable provider.

    16. June 2022 at 22:24

Schreibe einen Kommentar

Your email address will not be published. Erforderliche Felder sind mit * markiert

Dear Customers. Our shop is a shop for companies and commercial customers (B2B-shop). Unfortunately, orders by private individuals cannot be taken.