New toll rates, minimum wages, higher fines and increased controls on trucks are just some of the changes that will affect the European transport industry this year. Here are the most important of them.

Toll increases

Austria 

As the manager of the Austrian motorways Asfinag informed, as of 1 January this year, higher toll rates are in force in Austria. The basic tariff there increased by 2.1%. The adjustment of the level of charges for heavy goods vehicles above 3.5 t is based on the HICP for 2018.

At the beginning of this year, the changes to heavy duty vehicles meeting the Euro 6 emission standard also came into force. From 1 January, they are charged in full with the external costs of air pollution (from the beginning to the end of 2019, only 40% of these costs were charged to these trucks).

Emission-free vehicles – electric or hydrogen powered – are to be subject to ‘significantly reduced’ rates. The toll system is intended to ‘continue to favour the most environmentally friendly trucks’.

Denmark, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Sweden

Six months after the last increase, the prices of Eurovignettes have risen again. The new toll rates in Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden are effective from 1 January 2020. 

The change in rates that has entered into force concerns Euro 5 trucks. The annual toll for vehicles in this category with at least four axles increased from €1,250 to €1,327. Use the calculator to view current prices.

France 

Toll rates in France increase every year in line with an agreement between the operators and the State. In France, unlike in Austria, tariffs will only increase on 1 February this year. Operators will then be allowed to increase prices by up to 70% of the inflation rate. The average rate increase in 2020 will be 0.85% (1.9% in 2019).

According to the French media, operators will raise their prices as follows:

– COFIROUTE 0.71%

– SAPN 0.74%

– SANEF 0.75%

– APRR 0.87%

– ESCOTA 0.88%

– ASF 0.96%

– AREA 1.07%

Spain

This year’s changes in Spanish road tolls involve more than just an increase in rates. At the end of 2019, the period of the concession contract between the national authorities and the manager of two sections of important motorways ended. These are  important for the international traffic 373 km long section of the AP-7 motorway linking Tarragona and Alicante and the AP-4 between Cadiz and Seville. The motorways have passed into the hands of the state and have been free of charge since 1 January.

However, on most toll motorways, a total of 1,270 km, toll prices are expected to increase. On average they will increase by 0.84%, which is clearly less than in the last two years (1.67% in 2019 and 1.91% in 2018). 

Russia

Seven months after the increase in tolls in Russia (by 14 kopeks, i.e. to 2.04 roubles per kilometre) in February, further increases in rates are expected. The indexation of the toll tariff will take place on 1 February each year within the next three years. When raising road tolls, the authorities will take into account the annual inflation rate of about 4%. This means that from 1 February 2020, the rates in Płaton will amount to 2.2 rubles per kilometre, and from 1 February 2021 – 2.35 rubles.

In addition, the authorities have announced that foreign carriers will be checked for the payment of tolls for the use of toll roads in Russia.

Increase in minimum wages in EU countries

The Netherlands

According to the Dutch regulations, collective agreements (so-called CAOs) for the transport and logistics industry only apply to Dutch companies, foreign carriers must apply generally applicable minimum wage rates for posted drivers. After the rate increase on 1 July 2019, another increase is scheduled for 1 January.

Below we present hourly rates valid from 2020.

Employee aged 21 and over Employee aged 20 Employee aged 19 Employee aged 18 Employee aged 17 Employee aged 16 Employee aged 15
36-hour working week €10.60 €8.49 €6.36 €5.30 €4.19 €3.66 €3.19
38-hour working week €10.05 €8.05 €6.03 €5.03 €3.97 €3.47 €3.02
40-hour working week €9.54  €7.64 €5.73 €4.77 €3.77 €3.30 €2.87

Failure to keep documents or to comply with the rules on the minimum wage for workers posted to the Netherlands will result in an administrative fine of up to €12,000.

Germany

In line with the recommendation of the German Commission for Minimum Wage, the minimum wage rates rose to €9.35 on 1 January 2020. 

We would like to remind you that the violation of the MiLoG Act is subject to severe fines: 

– up to €30,000 for infringements related to the obligation of proper documentation, reporting the employee online, tolerance and cooperation during the inspection;

up to €500,000 for non-payment or late payment of the minimum rate to an employee or subcontractor.

 Stricter fines and increased controls 

Denmark

The Danish government wants the roads in the country to be free of dangerous trucks and buses. Therefore, stricter fines came into force for, among others, faulty brakes or tyres without tread.

Under the new rules in force as of 1 January, the penalties for serious safety deficiencies in heavy goods vehicles are  5 to 10 times higher. The fine for the owner of the vehicle or carrier is currently DKK 10,000. The driver will be punished with a fine amounting to DKK 5,000. Where the driver and vehicle owner are the same person, only one fine will be imposed. However, the penalties will be much stricter for subsequent infringements. You will find detailed information in our article on the subject.

At the beginning of this year Denmark has introduced stricter penalties for excessive noise emissions – from DKK 1,000 to DKK 2,500.

In addition, Denmark will also increase penalties for the 45-hour rest in the truck in 2020. The government there is working on regulations that provide for a tenfold increase in the fine for this offence – from DKK 1,000 to DKK 10,000 for the driver and from DKK 2,000 to DKK 20,000 for the carrier. The date of entry into force of the new legislation is not yet known.

Spain

In line with the Inspection Plan 2020, which entered into force at the beginning of this year, the Spanish services will focus on tachograph manipulation as well as working and rest time of drivers. According to the Ministry of Development, the competent authorities have been equipped with mobile roadside control tools enabling detection of possible manipulation of smart tachographs without stopping the vehicle, according to the talleres-dtcoplus.com portal.

Until now, such inspections have only been carried out in Germany.

The Netherlands

According to the Decree on annual road fines for 2020, some offences are punished with higher fines in the Netherlands. Rate increases mainly concern speeding.

According to the decree, the fines for exceeding the speed limit will be as follows:

How much does the driver exceed the speed limit? Speeding ticket in a residential area Speeding ticket in a residential area, in the 30 km/h zone Speeding ticket outside the residential area Speeding ticket on the highway
5 km/h €35 €56 €32 €30
10 km/h €72 €108 €68 €64
20 km/h €194 €269 €185 €174
25 km/h €263 €347 €248 €232

 

In 2020, the amount of speeding fines will also increase in places where road works are carried out:

How much does the driver exceed the speed limit? Speeding ticket in a residential area Speeding ticket outside the residential area
5 km/h €56 €46
10 km/h €108 €91
20 km/h €260 €230
25 km/h €347 €308

 

Green zones and traffic bans

Austria

As of 1 January 2020, the Austrians extended the sectoral ban on truck traffic in Tirol. On the Inntal motorway, vehicles over 7.5 t cannot transport goods belonging to the following new groups:

– paper and cardboard, 

– limestone and plaster, 

– pipes, conduits and hollow profiles,

– grain,

– liquid petroleum products.

Unfortunately, this is not the end of changes unfavourable for carriers. At the beginning of this year, the sectoral traffic ban also covered Euro 6 trucks. The only exception will be Euro 6 trucks equipped with 6D technology.

In addition, the Tirol authorities have increased the number of block checks. There will be 20 of them in the first half of this year. You will find their dates in our article on the subject. 

Belgium

Changes in traffic bans related to emission reduction in Belgium are expected this year in two cities – Antwerp, which will tighten regulations, and Ghent, which has established a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) this year. 

Since the beginning of this year, only vehicles that meet the relevant standards and are registered in Belgium or the Netherlands may enter the zone without registration in the LEZ system. Owners and drivers of foreign vehicles must register at https://lez.antwerpen.be/?Taal=DE or at the LEZ vending machine in Antwerp. 

Information on what vehicles from abroad have access to the zone since 1 January this year can be found in our article on the subject.

Vehicles that do not meet the standards will be able to enter the LEZ after purchasing a one-day LEZ card. The card can be purchased a maximum of 8 times per year. The cost from March this year will be €35.

On 1 January 2020 the city of Ghent in north-western Belgium also introduces the LEZ zone, which covers the entire city centre. The city authorities introduced a general speed limit of 30 km/h there. 

The following vehicles will be able to enter the LEZ zone in Ghent without a green ticket, but upon registration through https://lez.stad.gent/en:

– vehicles that run on petrol and LPG or natural gas and comply with Euro 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 standards,

– Euro 5 and 6 diesel vehicles.

Vehicles with Euro 4 diesel engine will have access to the zone only with a green ticket. 

For violations of the LEZ rules in both Ghent and Antwerp, there is a €150 to €350 fine.

The Netherlands

The Dutch harmonised the law governing eco-zones, the so-called ‘milieuzones’. Uniform rules make life easier for drivers, including those from abroad. Until now, each of the 13 eco-zones (Utrecht, Eindhoven, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Den Hertogenbosch, Breda, Delft, Arnhem, Leiden, Maastricht, Tilburg and Rijswijk) had different rules and different signage. New regulations and new road signs have been in force in the whole of the Netherlands since 1 January, but the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure has set a transition period. Municipalities have until 29 October to comply with the new law. Therefore, until then, before entering the ‘milieuzones’, it is worth checking which regulations apply in a particular zone. You can find the locations of the Dutch milieuzones at Milieuzones.nl

From 1 January 2020, municipalities and cities with an eco-zone must introduce a yellow and/or green eco-zone for diesel vehicles. The yellow one applies to cars and vans, and green to trucks. Zones throughout the country are to be marked with the following signs:

Only trucks meeting the Euro 4 emission standard and higher, as well as Euro 3 passenger cars and vans and higher will be allowed to enter ‘milieuzones’.

Changes to the provisions on winter tyres

Germany

The new regulation on winter tyres for trucks and buses will enter into force on 1 July 2020. According to it, trucks will have to have winter tyres not only on the wheels of the drive axles, but also on the steering axles.

The new requirement will apply to trucks in categories N2 and N3 (GVW above 3.5 t). A tyre with a mountain and snowflake symbol is considered to be a winter tyre according to the regulation. 

Norway 

On 15 November 2020 (and 16 November 2020 in the north of the country), new regulations for winter tyres for trucks will come into force in Norway. From this day on, trucks will be required to have tyres with the 3PMSF designation, with a distinctive symbol featuring snowflake and three mountain peaks. This means that it will no longer be possible to use tyres marked M+S (Mud and Snow) in Norway. 

In addition, the way fines are calculated will change. As of next year, a separate fine will be issued for each of the infringements related to winter tyres and chains. 

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