Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Road Haulage Lobby View More Tolls as Tax on Freight

IRHA and Small Businesses Protest at Ministers Statement
Shipping News Feature

IRELAND – A speech by Transport Minister Leo Varadkar stating he was considering more road tolls as a revenue replenishment scheme has left freight and road haulage interests up in arms. The Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) said in a statement in July that additional road charges would erode the county’s competitiveness. At that time the National Roads Authority confirmed they were examining the issue and yesterday’s revelation has brought more criticism from bodies such as the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) and the AA.

Mr Varadkar, who has previously been referred to as being ‘gaffe prone’ in the Irish national press, said he felt new tolls on the M50 motorway were justified because those in place currently are ‘unfair’ and that ‘multi point’ tolling would spread the cost to individual customers. He believed up to € 50 million could be collected, all of which was to be used for transport purposes. The IRHA point out that the new proposals would cause further bottlenecks and other objections include the fact that up to a quarter of the monies collected would simply fund collection costs whilst setting up the additional infrastructure, booths etc. would add to the cost.

Haulage groups across Europe are more used to schemes like the Eurovignette and the proposals for the UK and Ireland appear a backward step to many in the logistics industry. In Britain the proposals for tolls on the vital arteries like the M25, where there are several public petitions objecting to the planned increases, are also causing a storm of protest with objectors stating the schemes are merely a ‘cash cow’ for Governments' both bereft of ideas and funds and driven to going back on previous promises.