A consultation session on the European Commission’s ‘Proposal for a Directive on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures’, organised by MEUSAC and Transport Malta, was held on March 6, 2018.
Ms Lucienne Meilak, Director, Office of the Permanent Secretary, Policy Development and Programme Implementation Directorate, Transport Malta gave present stakeholders an insight of the proposed Directive while Mr David Sutton, Chief Officer in charge of the dossier at Transport Malta, answered stakeholders’ questions.
It was emphasised that Malta never had any road charges in place and that the likelihood is that it will remain a Member States’ prerogative as to whether or not toll charges will be introduced in future.
While discussions are still in the early stages, it hasn’t been ruled out that in the case of large-scale infrastructures, road fees could be introduced to cover maintenance costs of the infrastructure itself. Citing an example, Ms Meilak said that in the event a road was built between Malta and Gozo, such charges could be introduced.
Mr Sutton said that a survey conducted by Transport Malta for members of the Association of Tractors & Trailers Owners/Operators (ATTO), it emerged that freight transport providers in peripheral countries, such as Malta, endure much more costs than some of their foreign counterparts when it comes to transporting goods internationally.
However, authorities representing Maltese stakeholders involved in negotiations are constantly pushing for a level playing field in terms of costs. It results that Maltese freight transport providers pay much more when compared to Italian freight transport providers.
Mr Sutton explained that opposed to Maltese service providers, Italians have access to monthly ‘membership’ cards for road toll charges, benefiting from discounts. On the other hand, Maltese service providers are being charged in accordance to the stretch of road covered, resulting in significant costs.