New Truck Fees in Russia May Lead to Protest

The Moscow Times reports  that the truck owners in Russia are threatening to set up road blocks to protest new fees for 12-ton trucks using federal roads.

Last week at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum the Transportation Ministry presented a  new system for levying a fee for using federal roads. The new levying system that is set to enter into force in November 2014, will require owners of trucks with a maximum load capacity of 12 tons to pay 3.5 rubles (about US$0.11) per kilometer traveled on main highways. Money generated by the levy will be transferred to the federal road fund and intended for road maintenance and construction.   As the ministry said in their statement, individual truck owners and transport companies will be given free devices, distributed through a network of special-purpose centers to be established across the country, making it possible to track the movement of vehicles along federal roads with the help of the Glonass navigation system. Prior to the start of the journey, a truck owner will have to deposit on a special account a sum equal to the charge for the intended distance to be traveled. When the truck starts moving the money will be gradually deducted and transferred to the federal budget. A data processing center will be set up and truck movement monitoring systems — both mobile and stationary — will appear to ensure control over violators. Fines for not paying for the use of roads will range from 5,000 rubles to as much as 450,000 rubles, the statement said.  Money generated by the levy will act as a means of compensation for the wear and tear to the road surface caused by the heavy vehicles. The fees will be subjected to yearly adjustments based on inflation. However  experts are quite  skeptical that such a complicated system of levying fees on truck owners would work without problems  right from the start.

While experts raised some doubts on the technology aspect, truck owners were furious with the whole idea of having to pay for using roads. Some Russian truckers have already condemned the new levy.  The leader of the Professional Drivers labor union, Alexander Kotov,  said in his interview to Moscow Times that  “the measure will make small logistic companies extinct and only large ones will remain”. He also noted that “heavy trucks carrying gravel, lumber, grain, weighing 40 to 50 tons destroy the roads”.

Mikhail Blinkin, head of the Higher School of Economics’ Road Research Center  noted that “these payments will be passed on as an increase in the price for goods delivered and that means that we, who buy them, will have that difference included in the bill”.

Meanwhile, the truckers are determined to take serious measures to prevent the fees to be levied on them. RCL Agencies will report further update once available.

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