Impact of the Kilometer Charge in Belgium

Impact of the Kilometer Charge in Belgium

The introduction of the Kilometer Charge has a major impact on most logistics companies. At H.Essers we already started to prepare for this measure last year. In October 2015, the first OBUs were installed in the trucks (1,300 trucks in total).

We prepared a simulation of the impact on the cost price for each trajectory and for each client. That was not an easy task when you consider that we transport in Belgium and beyond, often by way of multimodal transport networks, for full truck loads (FTL), part truck loads and groupage consignments.
The charge varies depending on the number of kilometres travelled, the type of road and the type of truck. The charges vary specifically from 7.4 to 29.2 cents per kilometre. We calculated a cost price increase of 7.8 per cent for national transport, but for some freight movements this increase can become 10 to 11 per cent.
The impact of the kilometre-based charge on H.Essers amounts to roughly 5 million euros.

The introduction of the kilometre-based charge has certainly not gone unnoticed by the operational department at H.Essers either. Three employees have been working full-time on the implementation of the OBUs since September 2015. This is certainly no luxury, considering the fact that we are currently experiencing an average failure rate of 11.6%*. This percentage represents 140 OBUs that are not functioning within an overall fleet of 1,300 trucks. (*Not including errors at the supplier, Satellic)

As a company we are certainly not opposed to the kilometre-based charge, although we have a few critical concerns regarding the current method of implementation.

The concept by which the user pays, and where national and foreign vehicles are charged the same rate, is a good system. The precondition in this regard is that the income is spent structurally within the sector to promote mobility and safety. Moreover, it would really be advisable to evolve towards one unequivocal approach, with one toll concept throughout all of Europe.

Studies show that all road users should be taxed in order to achieve actual lasting behavioural change. This concept should include variable charges with alternatives for those who aim to avoid the rush hour. After all, such systems could generate much needed mobility benefits for the Belgian government.

For more information in this regard, please contact Andy Charlier via