Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Freight Group Announce Toll Free Trial for Road Haulage Operators During November

Motorways Will Be Free to Use for Thirty Days to Demonstrate Advantages of Faster Transits
Shipping News Feature

IRELAND – Following on from the recent trial negotiated between the Road Haulage Association (RHA) and the M6 Toll Authority in the UK to suspend charges for HGV’s travelling on the chargeable section of the motorway for the whole of July, lobbying by the Freight Transport Association of Ireland (FTAI) and others has seemingly managed to persuade the minister responsible into arranging a similar 30 day ‘toll-holiday’ trial which is to take place in November 2013 across a number of routes including the M1, M3, M6 and the Limerick Tunnel.

Answering Parliamentary Questions yesterday (Tuesday 1 October) Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s Minister for Transport, Travel and Sport, confirmed the details which are based on feedback the Minister had received showing routes which were underused and which large numbers of trucks travel regularly whilst routinely avoiding the cost of the tolls.

The scheme comes after Mr Varadkar asked the National Roads Authority (NRA) to look at the feasibility of trialling a free month for heavy lorries in a bid to persuade them to use the toll roads more often. Although the apparent cost of travelling on these roads can appear excessive they can often be more palatable when a haulier calculates factors such as fuel savings, transit times etc.

FTA Ireland is urging its members and all freight operators to make full use of the toll routes whilst they are free-of-charge to HGV users. FTAI is encouraging road carriers to use the opportunity in order to measure costs by comparing the cost of vehicles travelling on the normally tolled routes rather than back-roads. Tom Wilson, FTA Ireland General Manager stated:

“FTA Ireland believes that freight operators should take full advantage of using the named tolled motorway roads for free. Freight operators could benefit hugely in saving fuel costs, journey times and vehicle wear and tear, and the opportunity of a month’s toll-holiday is one that they shouldn’t ignore.”

The roads which feature in the scheme are the M1 outside Drogheda; the M3 motorway from Dublin to Kells; the M6 from Ballinasloe to Galway and the Limerick Tunnel. M1, Limerick and M6 toll costs vary from €4.70-6 for two to four axle trucks whilst on the M3 it is €2.90-3.50 at two points.

Unlike the UK trial on the M6, it appears drivers will not need to belong to any specific organisation to be able to take advantage of the free passage period, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has assured us that charges will be waived for any truck of the requisite size turning up at the toll point during November.

Photo: Leo Varadkar on the right of Gabriel Warde, the 2012 winner of the Young European Truck Driver competition sitting in the cab of the new Scania R500 LA4x2 which Warde collected as a prize.