ATP stands for "Accord relatif aux transports internationaux de denrées périssables et aux engins spéciaux à utiliser pour ces transports" (Agreement on the International Carriage of Perishable Foodstuffs). ATP applies to border-crossing long-distance transport; DIN 8959 8959 is applicable to delivery service. 


The ATP Agreement contains the technical requirements on refrigerated bodies and defines the temperatures that must be maintained during transport. 

Other topics in ATP are: 
  • The grouping of means of transport into classes according to their suitability and requipment for transporting perishable foodstuffs
  • The technical requirements for means of transport for perishable foodstuffs and equipment with a refrigeration unit
  • The methods for measuring the thermal insulating properties and the efficiency of the cooling or heating appliances
  • Temperature conditions to be observed for the carriage of foodstuffs
  • The type tests according to the ATP Agreement and the norms DIN 8958 and 8959


The ATP Agreement applies to: 
  • Border-crossing commercial transport (not to delivery service!)
  • The place where the goods are unloaded is situated in the territory of a contracting party (see below)
  • Carriage of perishable foodstuffs intended for human consumption
  • Carriage by rail, road or sea (sea carriage only for distances of less than 150 km if the goods are shipped in equipment, e.g., truck, used for the land journey)


The ATP Agreement entered into effect on 1st September 1970. The 47 signatories or contracting parties are Albania, Andorra, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegowina, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgie, Greece, Ireland, Italiy, Kazakhstan, Croatia, Latvia. Lithuania, Luxembourg, Morocco, Mazedonia, Moldavia, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Rumania, Russian Federation, Sweden, Switzerland, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Tadzhikistan, Czech Republic, Tunesia, Ukraine, Hungary, United States of America, Uzbekistan, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Belarus. 


The means of transport are grouped in different classes according to their suitability for carrying perishable foodstuffs. 

  • Transport equipment for chilled goods is in Klasse FNA, the class in which perishable foodstuffs can be transported as defined by the ATP Agreement. This means: 
    F = Transport equipment with built in refrigeration machine, 
    N = Transport equipment with normal heat insulation, mean K value = 0.7 W/m²K, and 
    A = Temperature class between +12 °C and +/-0 °C.

  • Transport equipment for deep-frozen goods is in class FRC, the class in which perishable foodstuffs can be transported as defined by the ATP Agreement. This means: 
    F = Transport equipment with built in refrigeration machine, 
    R = Transport equipment with heavy insulation, mean K value = 0.4 W/m²K, and 
    C = Temperature class between +0 °C and -25 °C.


Like the body, a refrigeration machine from a series must also be type tested by a notified body. Normally, the test consists of the measurement of the effective refrigeration capacity at an outdoor temperature of +30 °C and at least three different indoor temperatures in accordance with the use of the refrigeration machine (transport of chilled goods 12 °C, 6 °C, and 0 °C). Because the ATP Agreement applies only to long-distance transport, it is sufficient if the effective refrigeration capacity of the buit-in refrigeration machine is at least 1.75 times the heat loss through the insulated body. 

Norm DIN 8959 considers delivery service, in addition to long-distance transport. The effective refrigeration capacity of the refrigerating machine in delivery service should take the number of customers per hour to whom the goods are delivered and the time for which the door remains open into account.
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