Germany: Truck Tolls expanded on Federal Trunk Roads

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On July 1, 2018, the extension of toll routes in Germany took effect on all federal trunk roads. This means that, in addition to the approximately 20,000 kilometers of highway, there are another 40,000 kilometers on federal roads for which there will be a toll for trucks weighing 7.5 tons or more from this date.

With the extension of the truck toll, the German government wants to improve the financing of federal roads and generate additional revenue of an estimated 2 billion euros. In total, the federal government wants to earn 36 billion euros more by 2022, according to the federal government’s latest report on infrastructure costs. The money is to be reinvested directly in the transport infrastructure in order to push ahead with the expansion of the road network.

Forwarding associations and companies are critical of the toll increase. The increase in tolls would lead to an additional burden on the economy. In addition, it is to be feared that the toll will be higher on federal trunk roads than on highways. According to the German Freight Forwarding and Logistics Association (DSLV), this leads to a competitive disadvantage for industry and trade in regions far away from highways.

Kai Hasenpusch, CCO Hellmann Road & Rail Germany

Kai Hasenpusch, CCO Hellmann Road & Rail Germany, is also skeptical about the expansion of the toll: “The additional burdens caused by the extended toll legislation come at a time when the general cargo networks are overloaded by persistently high volumes. Added to this is the shortage of drivers and vehicles. There is a lack of necessary infrastructure and flexibility of alternative modes of transport. We therefore expect additional high administrative expenses and certainly also some haulage contractors who are no longer able to cope with these burdens. What is particularly regrettable is the fact that a large part of the toll revenue so far has not gone into necessary investments in road construction, but into repair work in the Deutsche Bahn network. Once again, the costs in the general cargo market are rising, which we have to pass on to the consumer 1:1.”

In addition to the forthcoming expansion of toll routes on federal trunk roads on 1 July 2018, a general increase in toll rates will take effect on 1 January 2019, which will further increase the burden on freight forwarders. Finally, it should be emphasized that the toll is a state levy levied by transport and forwarding companies and paid to the tax authorities via the operating company Toll Collect.

Despite the expansion of the toll, the structure of the Hellmann toll table remains unchanged. However, the values for toll calculation will change from 1 July 2018, especially in the close range. Short-haul routes without highway use are likely to become significantly more expensive – depending on the respective emission class of the vehicles.

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