Explanation of the ATP agreement

Agreement on international transportation of perishable foods and on the special means of transportation to be used for this kind of traffic (ATP)

(Accord relatif aux transports internationaux de denrées périssables et aux engins spéciaux à utiliser pour ces transports)

The agreement on international transportation of perishable foods and on the special means of transportation to be used for this kind of traffic lays down a set of rules and standards that are to be applied in the international transportation of certain perishable foods.

It is valid in the following countries that have retified this agreement:
Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Yugoslawia, Luxemburg, Marokko, the Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Spain, Czechoslowakia, the Soviet Union, Hungary und the United Staes of America. Romania has announced ratification.

(Remark V.S.: This is the status of a few years ago. Is there anybody who can tell what present the situation is with respect to this agreement in those states that emerged from Yugoslawia, Czechoslowakia and the Soviet Union?)

If the requirements of the ATP are not met, the food being transported (specifically frozen or deep-frozen foods as well as butter, game, poultry, fish) may have to undergo special checking.

The main requirements of the ATP are with respect to technical details of the means of transportation (lorries/trucks, trailers, containers, wagons/freight cars and other similar means of transportation) and test requirement to check for these standards. For that purpose, the means of tranportation are divided into classes that have an additional two or three capital letters for further distinction. They specify
- whether there is any means of cooling
- whether there is a refrigerator or an ice bunker
- whether there is a simple or a reinforced insulation
- and for what temperatures the means of transportation is suitable.

Conformity to the requirements of the ATP is assessed by unit or by type testing and the results are recorded in a test report. These tests must be repeated in predefined intervals.

The classification and the expiry date have to be written onto the outside of the vehicle in dark blue letters. They have to be wiped out if the requirements of the ATP are not met any more.


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8. 12. 1996 Viktor Schiffer e-mail: vschiffer @ wtal.de