Another year, another toll increase – in 2019, legislators in many European countries will continue to push up toll fees. What do drivers and freight forwarders have to expect? From 2023, the EU Commission is planning to introduce mandatory tolls on certain routes. But this doesn’t mean that fees will remain static until then: on the contrary tolls will continue to rise in the coming year. The way they are levied will also change in several countries. An overview of the most important changes and fixed plans can you find below.
In Wallonia, tolls will increase by up to three percent per kilometre for all vehicles over 3.5 tons. Euro-6 vehicles weighing up to 12 tons will be exempt. In the Flemish part of the country, tolls also now apply on the A11 from Bruges to Knokke-Heist, the N36 from Roulers to Zarren, and the N722 from Hasselt to Sint-Truiden. This prevents the use of two sections on the N36 and N722 previously used to avoid tolls. In the future, it will become even more difficult to avoid toll roads in Flanders.
According to the German Federal Ministry of Transport, the burden on road freight transport in Germany will rise by a total of 2.5 billion euros from 2019 onwards compared to the previous year. This will have an impact on freight and consumer prices, predicts Frank Huster, managing director of the German Freight Forwarding and Logistics Association (DSLV). In future, vehicle classification will no longer be based on the number of axles – which will then only be relevant for trucks over 18 tons – but on the total permissible weight. The new toll rates: 16 cents for trucks over 18 tons with up to four axles, and 17.4 cents for trucks over 18 tons with four or more axles. All trucks will be subject to emissions charges, including Euro-6 trucks, which were previously exempt. Modern Euro-6 trucks currently account for 65 percent of all toll road travel in Germany. In the future, all trucks will have to pay for their noise emissions at a flat rate of 0.2 cents per kilometre.
In the future, the French government wants to charge foreign trucks for using French roads. In France, all car and truck drivers have to pay tolls for numerous sections of the motorway operated by private companies. The French transport industry has reacted with concern and wants to protect itself against additional costs for domestic enterprises. EU rules prohibit discrimination against foreign trucks through road tolls. "We're working on some sort of vignette to make it possible, in some way, to tax foreign lorries that are crossing France without stopping," Environment Minister Francois de Rugy told BFMTV.
From 2023 at the earliest, the Dutch government wants to introduce a per-kilometre truck toll. The toll will apply to all trucks over 3.5 tons on all motorways, but also on many regional and local roads. When determining toll fees, the Netherlands wants to base its approach on that of Germany and Belgium. Toll revenues will be used to reduce vehicles taxes on trucks, and also to develop innovative, sustainable freight transport concepts. Domestic trucks will pay the same tolls as foreign trucks. TLN, the business association for transport and logistics, rates the points presented as acceptable. According to TLN, toll revenues should be used to help haulage companies to purchase emission-free trucks, and to promote the spread of sustainable biofuels. TLN is in favour of introducing a toll for cars as well. The Dutch government is also overriding tax concessions on LNG trucks. The reason given by State Secretary Menno Snel is that, in terms of environmental impact, they hardly differ in their overall balance from diesel-powered Euro-6 trucks. Therefore, in terms of cost/benefit calculations, the targeted promotion of LNG trucks can no longer be justified.
The basic per-kilometre infrastructure toll for HGVs will be increased by 2.2 percent in line with inflation. Euro-6 vehicles will receive a bonus of 1.7 percent. External air pollution costs will be phased in for EURO-6 vehicles. In 2019, EURO-VI vehicles will be charged 40 percent of these external costs. From 2020 they will be charged the full rate. The total tariff is made up as follows: Basic per-kilometre infrastructure toll depending on the vehicle’s toll group (according to axle category), plus external costs for traffic-related air pollution (according to EURO emission class and axle category) and noise load (according to axle category). Austria's freight companies are disappointed with the toll increase. "In times of discussions about CO2, the government is pushing towards the renewal of truck fleets with state-of-the-art Euro-6 trucks. The imminent increase in truck tolls from 2019 means that these trucks will be punished with an exorbitant rise of 5.5 percent”, criticised Franz Danninger, chairman of the Freight Forwarding Association in the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber. According to a study, Austria's toll rates are 25 percent higher than in other EU countries.
Not a toll issue, but important to know: as of this winter trucks over 7.5 tonnes must expect to be out of action in central Italy in case of snowfall. Then the "Autostrada dei Parchi", which runs across this part of the country, will be completely out of bounds to trucks. Affected roads include the A24 between Rome and Teramo (between the Tivoli junction and the SS80 exit in both directions), and the A25 between Torano and Pescara (between Torano and the A14 exit in both directions). Prohibitions will be communicated via traffic panels on feeder roads.