Toll-free trucking in France will end on 1 October, when a consortium including French state-owned rail operator SNCF will levy an average charge of €0.12/km on all trucks over 3.5 tonnes using the country’s road network, with the exception of the already-tolled Autoroutes.
The tax will be collected through a satellite-based toll scheme run by Ecomouv, a consortium led by Italian group Autostrade per l’Italia, in which SNCF is a minority partner.
It will be applied to 600,000 domestic trucks and around 200,000 foreign-registered vehicles over more than 12,000km of French highways, with the aim being to encourage freight onto modes other than road.
Euro 4 and 5 trucks will pay the standard rate, with trucks of Euro 3 or earlier standard paying more and Euro VI and EEV compliant trucks enjoying a discount.
The annual revenue from the tax is estimated at €1.24 billion and will go towards funding road maintenance and new transport infrastructure projects.
Ecomouv will receive an annual fee of around €240 million for running the scheme, which involves vehicles being equipped with transponders enabling them to be tracked by satellite.
France’s leading road haulage federation, the FNTR, has voiced strong opposition to the tax, estimating that it will add 5-8 per cent to operating costs.
Technical trials will begin in July.
Denmark is also developing a GPS-based scheme to go operational in 2015 and deliver an annual income of around €375 million from a toll of €0.20/km chargeable on 70 per cent of the country’s primary and secondary routes.