The Scottish economy is increasingly dependent on the efficient and cost effective movement of freight, connecting products to markets nationally and internationally.

The freight industry also plays a significant role in ensuring that fresh food and other essential commodities are available daily in our shops and supermarkets, an essential service for all of Scotland.

Partnership working

Transport Scotland works with partners in the freight sector to develop efficiencies and support sustainable practices.

Grants, research and professional contacts provide the Scottish freight network with the tools to develop their industry.

We're working with private and public sector bodies to provide the tools that:

  • Minimise the impact of freight movements on the environment - particularly emissions and noise
  • Enhance Scotland's competitiveness
  • Maintain and improve the accessibility of rural and remote areas
  • Ensure freight transport policy integration
  • Support the development of the freight industry in Scotland

Scottish Freight and Logistics Advisory Group

The Scottish Freight and Logistics Advisory Group (ScotFLAG) was set up to increase sustainable economic growth in Scotland, recognising the importance of freight in the transport sector.

The group's aims are to:

  • Advise on and monitor delivery of freight policy in Scotland in order to achieve national outcomes and objectives
  • Consider the impact of wider Government policies on the movement of freight
  • Prioritise and co-ordinate action taken by industry and other stakeholders in response to government policies

ScotFLAG's operating principles encourage collective ownership and participation as well as an acceptance that the group was not a lobbying organisation.

ScotFLAG members


  • Frances Pacitti/Chris Wilcock (Transport Scotland)


  • Gareth Williams (Scottish Council for Development and Industry)
  • Martin Reid (Road Haulage Association)
  • Rab Dickson (Nestrans)
  • Bob Bridges (Transport Scotland)
  • David Spaven (Rail Freight Group)
  • Chris Dubber (United Road Transport Union)
  • Douglas Norris (Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport)
  • Chris MacRae (Freight Transport Association)
  • Frank Roach (Hitrans)
  • Adrian Brown (Scottish Enterprise)
  • Sandy Smart (UNITE the Union)
  • Fiona Hesling (Transport Scotland)
  • Rob Clarke (Highlands and Islands Enterprise)
  • Richard Ballantyne (British Ports Association)
  • Jim May (Transport Scotland)


Sub groups

Climate change

Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC)

Lorry parking

Freight Scotland website


Road to Rail

Urban Freight

Rural Freight

Last Mile Connections

Freight best practice guides

Transport Scotland has produced a series of guides and case studies that can help save fuel, reduce emissions and increase safety.

These guides help you drive smarter and more efficiently to save money, develop skills and preserve the environment.

Driving and parking guides

Last mile delivery

Multi modal

Abnormal load routing

Transport Scotland co-ordinates the movement of abnormal loads throughout Scotland’s trunk and non-trunk road network, ensuring that the requirements of industry are met, while minimising the risk to road safety and delays to other road users, and also safeguarding bridges from damage by overweight or over height vehicles.

The primary function of Transport Scotland’s Abnormal Routing Section is to investigate on behalf of the Highways Agency, the suitability of proposed wide, high and heavy load movements within Scotland that require VR1 or Special Order authorisation under Section 44 of the Road Traffic Act.

Before recommending to the Highways Agency that any such authorisation is given, Abnormal Routing Section must be satisfied that the movement can be justified, and that alternatives have been considered – consulting with its Operating Companies, Local Authorities, other Bridge Owners and the Police where necessary along the route of the proposed movement.

From the records held, and the experience gained in performing these duties, it is also able to offer a routing advisory service on the movement of all abnormal loads, and high loads, throughout Scotland.

This service is highly regarded by haulage contractors, plant operators and the manufacturing & construction industry throughout the UK – assisting them with their day-to-day transport problems and enabling them to fully investigate all options prior to tendering for transportation of wide, high or heavy loads.

The Abnormal Routing Section can also advise haulage contractors and plant operators of the road authorities whose area they propose to travel through – thereby reducing the likelihood of an authority not being notified of the proposed movement

View the document: Abnormal load movements - a brief guide to notification and authorisation requirements

Further details on abnormal loads can also be obtained on the Highways Agency’s Electronic Service Delivery for Abnormal Loads (ESDAL) website.

For more information on this area please contact: 

Trunk Road and Bus Operations Directorate: Network Administration (Abnormal Load Routing)
Buchanan House
58 Port Dundas Road
G4 0HF

Telephone: 0141 272 7339

Email: AbnormalLoads@transport.gov.scot

High loads

There is currently no legislation which limits the height of vehicles that can travel on the roads in the UK. Drivers are not required to notify or seek approval to travel because of vehicle height.

Until the implementation of our Overheight Vehicle Strategy in 2008, records showed an increase in bridge strike incidents on Scotland's Trunk Road Network involving over-height vehicles. The consequences are always costly.

They can be fatal for both the driver of the vehicle and the people on or under the bridge in passing rail or road traffic.

The standard minimum clearance on every part of a public highway is 16'-6" (5.03m). All bridges with lower clearances have signs identifying the maximum safe vehicle height which can pass beneath.

High vehicles are those which:

  • cannot pass safely under a bridge of 16'-6" (5.03m) minimum headroom; or
  • have a vehicle/load combination greater than 16'-3" (4.95m) high - allowing for the minimum safety margin of 0.275m.

Legislation states that all vehicles 9'-10" (3.0m) and above require a notice in the cab displaying the maximum height of the vehicle. It is an offence not to display this notice.

It is the responsibility of the driver of a vehicle to ensure that the height of their vehicle, including the load, can safely pass beneath all overbridges encountered on a route.

Further guidance to increase awareness and offer advice regarding high loads and bridge strikes is available on the DfT website

Further information on bridge heights within Scotland can be found on the Freight Scotland website, and in the Notification to Hauliers document.

High Load Grid

The High Load Grid is a collection of advisory routes for extremely high loads. This is aimed at assisting the haulage industry plan moves and ensuring routes are maintained to agreed capacities. The high load routes are either 18' or 20'. The High Load Grid can be used as a guide to locate routes in a required area. First published in 1996 it has been periodically updated to reflect changes in the local and trunk road network.

Freight grants

Scottish Government grants help companies choose sustainable rail and water methods to move goods.

Taking freight off congested roads and moving it by rail or water can have environmental and wider social benefits but it can be more expensive. 

The Scottish Government runs three schemes that help offset these extra costs to encourage the use of rail or water transport instead of road transport.

Freight Facilities Grants (FFG)

This grant helps companies with the capital costs associated with moving freight by rail or water instead of road, by offsetting the extra costs of providing freight handling facilities.

If you would like further information about the FFG scheme or wish to discuss a potential project please contact us.

Mode Shift Revenue Support Scheme (MSRS)

This grant helps companies with the extra operating costs associated with moving freight by rail or inland waterways instead of road.

MSRS funding is currently available. If you would like further information about the MSRS scheme or wish to discuss a potential project please contact us.

Waterborne Freight Grant (WFG)

This grant helps companies with the extra operating costs associated with moving freight by water instead of road. The grant assists companies with coastal and short sea shipping costs for up to three years.

If you would like further information about the WFG scheme or wish to discuss a potential project please contact us.

Ports Mode Shift Grant (PMSG)

This grant helps companies with the capital costs associated with moving freight by water instead of road, by offsetting the extra costs of providing freight handling facilities at ports. It operates under the same principles of the FFG scheme but is authorised under the 2017 Amendment of the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER) of 14 June 2017 Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/1084 of 14 June 2017.

If you would like further information about the PMSG scheme or wish to discuss a potential project please contact us. We can also advise which grant mechanism is most appropriate.

Contact Us

Justin Huthersall
Tel: (0131) 244 1526
Email: freight.grants@transport.gov.scot


Privacy notice for ECMT permits

Privacy Notice for processing data in relation to the International Road Haulage Permits (ECMT)

This privacy notice explains your rights under the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It describes how we use, store and share the personal information we collect about you.

Personal Data (which we will refer to as ‘data’ throughout this notice) means any information about an individual from which that person can be identified.

Why we are collecting data

Your personal data will be processed to assist TS ascertain the risks associated with the UK leaving the European Union, which could result in international hauliers using ECMT Permits to access European Markets if no other arrangements are in place.

Legal basis for processing data

Transport Scotland will only process your data when permitted to by law. We use your personal information as is needed to perform a task carried out in the public interest.

What data we collect

In undertaking this procedure, we will process the following data:

  • names of Scottish hauliers that have applied for International Road Haulage permits, number of permits applied for and number of permits allocated to each Scottish haulier

We do not process any special category of personal data for these purposes.

Who we will share your data with

This information is shared between Transport Scotland and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). We may share this information with other parts of the Scottish Government (SG). We will not transfer your data to third countries or international organisations.

How long we will keep your data

Your personal data will be retained for as long as it is necessary for the purpose it was collected, which is dependent on the conditions for the UK exiting the EU. The process will be reviewed on a 6 monthly basis. Information will be held on our electronic records and document management system which has an automated closure and destruction functionality.

Your data rights

In relation to your personal data held by Transport Scotland for these purposes, you have the right to:

  • Object – request that your data is not processed for certain purposes
  • Restrict Processing – request that the processing of your personal data is restricted in certain circumstances, for example, where accuracy is contested
  • Rectification – request that any inaccuracies in your personal data are rectified immediately and request that any incomplete personal data is completed, including by means of a supplementary statement
  • Access – request information about how your personal data is processed and to request a copy of that personal data

Contact Details

If you have any questions about anything in this privacy notice or you would like to exercise any of your rights, contact:

Data Protection Officer
Transport Scotland
Buchanan House
58 Port Dundas Road
Glasgow G4 0HF
Email: dpa@transport.gov.scot