Friday, February 14, 2014

Road Haulage Operators Must Advise Foreign Partners of New Truck Levy says Freight Association

From April Foreign Lorries Must Pay in Advance Whilst Using British Roads
Shipping News Feature

UK – The new road levy on all lorries weighing above 12 tonnes which comes into force on 1 April 2014 is causing many road haulage operators concern at the lack of information they have received from government. The British International Freight Association (BIFA) says it is seeing a considerable amount of enquiries about the charge which is being introduced under the auspices of the HGV Road User Levy Act 2013 and will require payment alongside a truck’s vehicle excise duty (VED).

The idea of the charge is to create a level playing field for UK hauliers as vehicles registered outside of the UK will need to pay the levy before entering the UK and using the road network. BIFA says when it initially highlighted the new levy to its members last year, its main focus was to advise the changes that it would have for them as truck operators, but now, in light of an increasing number of requests for information from its members anxious about the possible impact that this legislation will have on overseas truckers, the trade association for UK freight forwarders has prepared additional guidance for members to provide to any non-UK haulage sub-contractors that they use to help explain the new rules. Peter Quantrill, BIFA Director General, comments:

“The guidance basically explains to those sub-contractors that on April 1, 2014, the UK will be introducing a new time-based user charge for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) which ensures that for the first time foreign HGVs using the UK road network will contribute to the cost of maintaining it.

“The charge is aligned with EU legislation regarding road charging, often referred to as a Eurovignette, and is based upon vehicle weights and axle configuration. There are seven levy bands, which align with the UK’s domestic VED bands. An independent company has been awarded the contract to develop and manage payments made by foreign operators.

"The aim is to allow foreign truck operators or drivers to purchase the levy in advance of entering the UK via the Internet, telephone or terminals. The system will create a database to enable the identification of hauliers that have not paid. We are encouraging BIFA Members to make any overseas trucking company to which they sub-contract aware of the introduction of this levy.”

Details of the HGV road user levy can be accessed here and the foreign operator payment system is being operated by Northgate Public Services on behalf of the Department for Transport and companies can sign up for an account from 17 March 2014. Northgate and the DfT have produced a booklet, accessible online (here) which explains how and when payment can be made.

In addition to account payments some continental ferry terminals and fuel filling stations will have  machines available for credit or debit card users for truckers who have not prepaid using the internet service. We are asked to point out by a spokesperson of Northgate that, whilst these additional services are to be made available, the ticket must be purchased prior to the foreign vehicle entering the UK or the driver may incur a £300 fine.