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Truckers anxious over new road use fees

VIGNETTE, Latvia’s official new system for collecting road user fees from the trucking industry, goes into effect July 1, state joint-stock company Latvian State Roads spokesman Lauris Vilnītis told the press Monday. The fees are intended to support the maintenance and development of Latvia’s primary automotive highways and to foster the use of more environmentally-friendly vehicles amongst trucking fleets.

Latvian Trucking Association chief Valdis Trēziņš told Latvian Public Radio that the purchase of eurovignettes will be an additional burden upon smaller trucking companies, especially those whose fleets have less than 10 vehicles. “This is just the latest in a series of cost increases for us,” he said, warning even of possible layoffs at some transportation service firms. Trēziņš disallowed the idea that truckers might organize protests against the eurovignettes, however, saying the association had not considered any such response.

Customs broker Merkūrijs EU and fueling stations Virši-A, Lukoil Baltija, and Statoil Latvia have secured contracts with Latvian State Roads and the Road Traffic Safety Directorate (CSDD) for the sale of the so-called “eurovignettes”, making the service available to truckers at or near the border about to drive onto Latvia’s main roads. The fees are applicable to all trucks exceeding a gross vehicle weight of 3500 kilograms. Various factors will determine the total charge assessed on any given vehicle, including the duration of the vehicle’s drive through the state road system, therefore fee amounts are expected to range from € 8 to € 925.

The newly-launched motorway user charge payment service is also accessible electronically at the official portal www.lvvignette.eu.

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