Brussels, 23 May 2022 – The Kilometer Charge for lorries that has been in force in Belgium’s three regions since 1 April 2016 generated 822.4 million euros in its sixth year of operation, which ran from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022. That is 8.8 percent more than the 755.7 million euros during the previous operating year. The proportion of toll kilometres travelled by trucks in the two cleanest emission categories, Euro 6 and Euro 5, rose further from 95 to 96.6 percent. This was announced by Viapass, the interregional entity that coordinates and monitors the Kilometer Charge for lorries, when it published its annual report for 2021.
The revenues from the Kilometer Charge for the three regions in Belgium have increased year on year, as shown in the table below.
|Revenue Kilometer Charge lorries (in million euro)|
|01/04/2016 – 31/03/2017||657|
|01/04/2017 – 31/03/2018||688.4|
|01/04/2018 – 31/03/2019||716.7|
|01/04/2019 – 31/03/2020||717|
|01/04/2020 – 31/03/2021||755.7|
|01/04/2021 – 31/03/2022||822.4|
“Since the introduction of the Kilometer Charge, lorries registered in other countries than Belgium also pay proportionally for the use and wear of the roads,” says Johan Schoups, CEO of Viapass. “In the sixth year of the Kilometer Charge, foreign trucks accounted for 53 percent of the kilometres driven by trucks on paying toll roads in the three regions.”
“The Kilometer Charge paid by Belgian and foreign trucks goes to the Flemish, Walloon and Brussels Capital Regions based on the number of kilometres driven on the paying toll roads in their regions,” explains Johan Schoups. “With these revenues, the regions can invest in infrastructure and mobility solutions, as described in detail in our new annual report. The revenues can also be invested in trainings for truck drivers and initiatives to improve their working conditions, such as better motorway parking areas.”
Green toll kilometres
Lorries pay per kilometer driven on toll roads. This amount depends on three factors: the region where the road is located, the gross vehicle weight (GVW) and the Euro emission standard of the vehicle. The toll applies to three GVW categories (more than 3.5 tonnes to 12 tonnes, more than 12 tonnes to 32 tonnes, and more than 32 tonnes) and seven Euro standards (from the most polluting Euro 0 standard to the most environmentally friendly Euro 6 standard). The higher the Euro standard of the truck and the lower its GVW, the more advantageous the tariff per driven kilometer.
“It is clear that the more favourable rate for ‘green’ trucks in the Kilometer Charge is a co-determining factor in the purchase of a more environmentally friendly truck,” states Johan Schoups. “Only 3.4 percent of toll kilometers are driven by trucks that do not fit in the two cleanest emission categories, Euro 6 and Euro 5. We are also seeing a shift in the weight class of trucks. The share of the highest class, with an GVW of over 32 tonnes, has risen from 87 percent last year to 91 percent today. Greener transport and more efficient use of the means of transport were two well-defined objectives the designers of the Kilometer Charge had in mind at the outset. They have clearly succeeded in doing so.”
Corona dip lies behind us
During the sixth year of the Kilometer Charge, the number of trucks on the roads in the three regions rose again after a decline in the fourth and fifth years.
|Number of different trucks that drove on paying toll roads at least once|
|01/04/2016 – 31/03/2017||39 million|
|01/04/2017 – 31/03/2018||40.11 million|
|01/04/2018 – 31/03/2019||40.58 million|
|01/04/2019 – 31/03/2020||40.3 million|
|01/04/2020 – 31/03/2021||39 million|
|01/04/2021 – 31/03/2022||41.1 million|
“The dip as a result of the corona pandemic is over,” says Johan Schoups. “Only lorries that were actually driving paid the Kilometer Charge. Of course, the number of trucks on the road does not say anything about the load factor and profitability of the trips. But we can say that the increase in the number of trucks in the sixth year of the Kilometer Charge is an indication of increased economic activity. What exactly the impact will be of the recent developments around Ukraine remains to be seen.”
Of all the trucks subject to the Kilometer Charge in Belgium, over 99.25 percent are fully in compliance with the regulations. “The remaining minimal number is not necessarily a malicious offender,” says Johan Schoups. “For example, 0.15 percent are non-compliant because of an On Board Unit (OBU) with an inadequate means of payment, such as a credit card limit exceeded, a technical defect or an expired card. In 0.6 percent of the trucks, the monitoring equipment does not detect an OBU. It is then possible that the driver had forgotten to switch on the OBU or does not have one on board. Viapass continues to warn that the system sees everything and that the OBU must be switched on on all the roads in the three regions of Belgium.”
Those who do not comply with the rules will be fined. Depending on the gravity of the offence, there is a fine ranging from a minimum of 100 to a maximum of 1,000 euros in cases of manifest fraud. On average, a truck is checked three times a day. This amounts to more than 8 million checks per month. The controls are carried out by 39 camera portals, 22 mobile cameras and 38 control vehicles and motorbikes of the three regions.
Leader in Europe
“We can be proud of the pioneering role our country has played in Europe,” says Johan Schoups. “The principle is simple: you pay for the use of a truck instead of the mere owning it. On 1 April 2016, the twelve-year DBFMO contract (design, build, finance, maintain and operate) for the Kilometer Charge started, which is now at the halfway stage. Our country was the first in the EU to roll out a European Electronic Toll Service or EETS system with GNSS across its entire territory. This system was in line with Europe’s intention to create a single electronic toll area in which vehicles subject to tolls could cross the whole of Europe with a single toll solution, unhindered by barriers or queues. This is also how it is stated in the revised European directive adopted in 2019.”
Annual report 2021
Along with the publication of the figures after the sixth year of road pricing, Viapass has published its annual report for the calendar year 2021. It can be found on Viapass’ website (Annual reports – Viapass). In addition to a chapter on EETS and all Viapass’ annual figures, the annual report also contains some examples of investments financed by the revenue from the Kilometer Charge.
Viapass is an interregional public service organisation. The public body controls and coordinates the Kilometer Charge for lorries over 3.5 tonnes which has been in force in Belgium since 1 April 2016. Since 1 January 2018, the Kilometer Charge has also applied to semi-trailer vehicles of category N1 with bodywork code BC. Viapass checks the operationality of the road pricing scheme and the proper functioning of the infrastructure. It also ensures the correct flow of money and data, coordinates service providers and is responsible for the government’s joint communication on the road pricing scheme. More information on www.viapass.be