German Road Tolls Target Trucks

The LKW Maut, Germany’s new highway toll on “heavy goods vehicles” started in January and initial effects on the carrier industry appear to be minimal, according to Transport Intelligence. German authorities have predicted the toll will increase transportation costs 7% to 9% and this will translate into a 0.15% increase for consumers. The toll is expected to raise Euro 2.4 billion ($3.1 billion) per year, which Germany plans to reinvest in its infrastructure.

“Another sign that the increased costs are beginning to have an impact on modal choice is the growth of the short sea shipping sector,” says Transport Intelligence’s John Manners-Bell. One Belgian ferry operator added service that allows freight operators who used to transit Germany on their way from Spain to Denmark to bypass the Germany highway system. This is particularly important to lower value cargoes that are at risk of becoming uncompetitive with the additional costs.

An added concern is the increased traffic on minor roads as motor carriers reroute to avoid the highway tolls. One community, Sachsen-Anhalt, is conducting a road-use survey to determine whether trucks are diverting to secondary roads. If it can be shown that this is the case, the German government may extend the tolling scheme to cover those roads.

Other countries in Europe and beyond are watching the German experience to determine not only the revenue potential of the truck toll system but also its impact on road congestion.

For additional coverage of European logistics, see Logistics Today’s March issue.

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