Monday, February 13, 2012

RoRo Ferries Profit from Freight Trucks as Council's Costs Stack Up

Call For Eurovignette Fees to be Distributed Fairly
Shipping News Feature

UK – As the long discussed proposal of a Eurovignette system to reap revenue from overseas hauliers be introduced onto Britain’s roads steps closer to finally becoming a reality, one group at least see it as the opportunity to offset some of the costs imposed by the overabundance of road haulage traffic moving freight through the region.

Roads Minister Mike Penning has a meeting scheduled in three weeks time when Kent County Council (KCC) officials plan to pressure him for a share of the spoils claiming 87% of commercial trucks entering the country do so via the county by RoRo ferry or Eurotunnel. With estimates of possible income as high as £23 million within the next three years Kent Councillors are keen to make their case despite the Minister already ruling that funds are for Central Government coffers.

Despite the throughput of vehicles the county’s argument is that very little revenue is derived by local businesses as the drivers tend to arrive refreshed and well fed after their trip across or under the channel with enough driving time available to pass through without stopping and with trucks fully fuelled on the Continent. This means local businesses derive no profit yet the damage to roads and the extra costs imposed by such events as ‘Operation Stack’, when the M2 motorway turns into a lorry park, all are paid for by local ratepayers.

Kent has been lobbying since 1992 for a charge to trucks that can be invested in road schemes. In December 2010 KCC launched Growth without Gridlock, a transport delivery plan for Kent. It identified key infrastructure improvements that need to be carried out which the Council says will ensure that new jobs are created, economic growth is boosted and that the county can sustain long-term growth. The plan includes: A long-term solution to Operation Stack, a third Thames Crossing and dualling of the A21.