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VCHD Cargo: Investments in on-board toll units amount to millions, but a common European toll system is still a far-off dream

The Czech Transport Company VCHD Cargo owns a fleet of over 150 trucks. Due to the fact that the company is involved in export shipping, each vehicle is fitted with five or more on-board toll units on average. Thus, the Company has over two million CZK locked in on-board toll units. Now, the Czech Republic is embarking on a system employing new and more expensive on-board toll units.

The truck drivers’ collection has just been enriched by a new “box”, as it is nicknamed in truck drivers’ jargon, for transit through the Czech Republic. The Ministry of Transport’s tender was won by the   CzechToll Company and SkyToll Company consortium to replace the Austrian Kapsch Group. The refundable deposit per on-board unit has increased to 2,468 CZK from the current 1,550 CZK. The technology is also changing, microwaves will be replaced by a satellite system – to be launched on motorways on 1st December and on first-class roads in January 2020.

Ing. Pavel Sirotek, VCHD Cargo CEO, comments on this: “Due to the size of our company we fall into the post-paid category. We have registered into the system on time and have picked up on-board toll units for all our vehicles. What we find paradoxical is that although the toll system in Slovakia is operated by the same consortium, the toll systems are incompatible.”

For a small carrier company, this may represent a relatively large financial burden. “A deposit or another fee, as it is, is always related to each on-board toll unit installed in each vehicle”, explains Pavel Sirotek. “In Slovakia, for example, the deposit per on-board toll unit is 50 EUR, in Poland 28 EUR, and in Belgium even 135 EUR. The common system for Austria and Germany charges 3,300 CZK for the installation of an on-board unit in the truck and even 600 CZK for its disassembly, all non-refundable,” calculates Pavel Sirotek adding that “an integrated European toll system is, unfortunately, still a far-off dream.”

The average age of VCHD Cargo vehicles is 2.9 years and 98% of the company’s trucks meet the EURO 6 emission standard. All vehicles are equipped for hazardous goods transport in accordance with ADR. VCHD Cargo’s has regular lines to more than 70 European destinations and customers can keep track of the current location of their goods thanks to GPS tracking.