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ATP Agreement

The ATP Agreement (Agreement on the International Carriage of Perishable Foodstuffs and on the Special Equipment to be Used for such Carriage) is the key agreement governing the international transportation of perishable foodstuffs. Adopted within the framework of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the ATP Agreement is a fundamental set of rules for the safe, efficient and sustainable transportation of such goods around the world.

You will find here key information on the definition and scope of the Agreement, requirements for specialized transport equipment, and procedures related to carriage and documentation.

To better understand how the ATP Agreement affects the international trade of foodstuffs and its benefits and requirements, we encourage you to click on the relevant tiles next to it.

Details of the ATP Agreement

ATP agreement - general information

The Agreement on the International Carriage of Perishable Foodstuffs and on the Special Means of Transport for such Carriage (ATP) was drawn up in Geneva on September 1, 1970. Poland has been a signatory to this agreement since 1984.

The ATP Agreement and its annexes are regularly updated by the Working Party on the Carriage of Perishable Foodstuffs of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, known as WP11.

The current version of the ATP Agreement in Poland can be found in the Official Gazette of 2022, item 1824.

The agreement specifies the conditions that must be met by means of transportation intended for transporting perishable foodstuffs. It includes definitions, standards, testing conditions, how special vehicles are marked, and the required temperatures during transportation.

The application of regulations under the ATP Agreement is mandatory for the transportation of all frozen products and certain chilled products.

By 2018, 50 countries had joined the ATP Agreement.

States parties to the Agreement strive to maintain the quality of transported food and develop international trade in this area.

The types of transportation covered by the Agreement are:

  • transportation by road,
  • transportation by rail, and
  • transportation by sea (as long as it is carried out over a distance of less than 150 kilometers and without transshipment by means of transportation used for land transportation or land transport, or between two such land transports).

ATP Certificate

ATP Certificate (Technical Authorization of Vehicle)

This document certifies that the truck or bus meets the technical requirements and is authorized for the transportation of goods in international transport, especially food products that require specific transport conditions.

To obtain the ATP certificate, the vehicle must undergo technical inspections carried out at specialized testing stations. During these inspections, properties such as the thermal and insulating characteristics of the body, as well as the cooling or heating systems, are checked depending on the type of cargo to be transported.

The ATP certificate is valid for a period of 6 years, provided that the vehicle undergoes at least one annual technical inspection concerning the body and cooling or heating system. After this period, it is necessary to perform new technical inspections and obtain a new ATP certificate.

The ATP certificate is valid in all countries that have signed the ATP Convention, including most European countries and some non-European countries, such as Russia and China.

Below is the template of the ATP certificate issued by COCH:

Plaque and classification

Sample Plate Pattern:

In the ATP agreement (A – Agreement; T – Transport; P – Perishable), transport means are classified according to their purpose and equipment as well as the thermal transmittance coefficient “K.”

The first letter indicates the type of transport means:

  • I – Isothermal
  • F – With mechanical refrigeration device – Refrigerated
  • C – Heated transport
  • R – With cooling system – Cold room
  • B – With mechanical cooling-heating device

The second letter corresponds to the type of thermal insulation:

  • R – Reinforced insulation
  • N – Normal insulation

The third letter indicates the temperature class:

  • A to F – For refrigerated vehicles
  • A to D – For cold rooms
  • A to D – For heated transport
  • A to L – For vehicles with cooling and heating device

The letter X in the fourth position indicates that the transport means is equipped with a removable or dependent thermal device.

Examples of Refrigerated Vehicle Markings and Corresponding Transport Temperature Ranges and Thermal Transmittance Coefficients K:

  • FNA – From +12°C to 0°C, K ≤ 0.7 〈W/m²K〉
  • FRB – From +12°C to -10°C, K ≤ 0.4 〈W/m²K〉
  • FRC – From +12°C to -20°C, K ≤ 0.4 〈W/m²K〉

ATP mark

ATP Identification Mark

The ATP identification mark consists of:

  1. Classification Mark (e.g., FRC)
  2. Certificate Expiry Date (e.g., 25-06-2021)

The ATP identification mark features dark blue letters on a white background.

  • Letter height requirements:
    • Classification Mark: At least 100 mm
    • Expiry Date: At least 50 mm
    • For smaller transport means with a total weight not exceeding 3.5 tons, the letter heights can be reduced to:
      • Classification Mark: 50 mm
      • Expiry Date: 25 mm

The ATP inspection marking should be placed in the upper front corners of the thermally insulated transport means.

The identification mark must be removed as soon as the transport means no longer meet the ATP Agreement requirements.

The information on the ATP marking (classification type and expiry date) must be consistent with the specifications on the related ATP certificate.

Periodic inspection

Periodic Inspection of Refrigerated Transport Means According to the ATP Agreement

Periodic inspections of refrigerated transport means, as mandated by the ATP agreement, are required regularly starting from 6 years after the vehicle’s date of manufacture and then every 3 years thereafter. Exceptionally, inspections may also be conducted upon request by the competent authorities.

During these inspections, key parameters are checked, including:

  • The efficiency of the refrigeration unit in cooling the vehicle body to the appropriate temperature within a specified time frame.
  • The condition of thermal insulation.
  • The integrity of door seals.
  • The thickness of the walls.
  • The functionality of the thermostat.

A successful inspection results in the issuance of an ATP certificate, allowing the vehicle to continue operating in its current classification for another three years.

These inspections are carried out by trained inspectors at specialized testing stations, such as the Central Office of Refrigeration (COCH), using appropriate measuring equipment.

Food - classification

Transport temperatures above 0°C include classes: FRC, FRC/X, RRC, RRX, FRB, FRB/X, RRB, RBB/X, FNA, FNA/X, RNA, RNA/X.

ProduktMaximum temperature
Raw milk+6°C
Red meat and big game (other than red offal).+7°C
Meat products, pasteurized milk, butter, fresh dairy products, (yogurt, kefir, cream, fresh cheese), ready-to-eat prepared raw vegetables and vegetable products, concentrated fruit juice and fish products not listed below.At +6°C or at the temperature indicated on the label and/or shipping documentation.
Game (other than big game), poultry, rabbits.+4°C
Red offal.+3°C
Ground meat.At +2°C or at the temperature indicated on the label and/or shipping documentation.
Unprocessed fish, mollusks and crustaceans6.On melting ice or at melting ice temperatures.
  1. When milk is collected from the farm for direct processing, the temperature may rise during transport to +10°C. In any form.

  2. Except for products fully processed by salting, smoking, drying or sterilization.

  3. Fresh cheese means unripened (unripened) cheese, ready for consumption within a short period after production, which has a limited shelf life.

  4. Raw vegetables shredded, sliced or otherwise reduced in size, but excluding those that have only been washed, peeled or cut in half.

  5. Excluding live fish, live mollusks and live crustaceans.

Temperaturę transportu od 0°C do -10°C obejmują klasy: FRC, FRC/X, RRC, RRX, FRB, FRB/X, RRB, RBB/X, FNA, FNA/X, RNA, RNA/X.

ProductMaximum temperature
Butter and concentrated fruit juice.See point 7.
  1. For the listed deep-frozen and frozen food products that are intended for immediate processing upon arrival, their temperature may be allowed to rise slowly during transportation so that they arrive at the destination having a temperature no higher than that requested by the shipper and indicated in the transportation contract. This temperature may not exceed the highest temperature permitted for the food product in a refrigerated state listed in Annex 3 of the ATP Agreement.

Transport temperatures below -10°C include classes: FRC, FRC/X, RRC, RRC/X.

ProductMaximum temperature
All frozen food products (except butter).-12°C
Fish, fish products, mollusks and crustaceans frozen or (deep) quick-frozen and all other deep-frozen food products.-18°C
Ice cream-20°C

Parties to the contract

List of countries that have ratified the ATP Convention, the Agreement on the International Carriage of Perishable Foodstuffs:
  • Albania
  • Andora
  • Arabia Saudyjska
  • Austria
  • Azerbejdżan
  • Belgia
  • Białoruś
  • Bośnia i Hercegowina
  • Bułgaria
  • Chorwacja
  • Czarnogóra
  • Czechy
  • Dania
  • Estonia
  • Finlandia
  • Francja
  • Grecja
  • Gruzja
  • Hiszpania
  • Holandia
  • Irlandia
  • Kazachstan
  • Kirgistan
  • Litwa
  • Luksemburg
  • Łotwa
  • Macedonia
  • Maroko
  • Mołdawia
  • Monako
  • Niemcy
  • Norwegia
  • Polska
  • Portugalia
  • Rosja
  • Rumunia
  • San Marino
  • Serbia
  • Słowacja
  • Słowenia
  • Stany Zjednoczone
  • Szwecja
  • Tadżykistan
  • Tunezja
  • Turcja
  • Ukraina
  • Uzbekistan
  • Węgry
  • Włochy
  • Wielka Brytania

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