Statement to MRDPW and RIA on the introduction of the toll tax system

BACI hereby expressed with letters to the Minister of regional development and public works (MRDPW) and the Chairman of the Governing Board of The Road infrastructure agency (RIA) a position in principle against the introduction of the toll system within the timeframe and in the way it is proposed, namely: applied to mostly all the roads on the territory of the country, as well as against the proposed price of the tolls for the heavy-duty vehicles most commonly used by the enterprises in the sector (over 12 t, Euro 3 and 4).

BACI is of the opinion that the introduction of the toll system will have a negative impact on the Association’s members because, due to the specific nature of our activities, transport costs form a substantial part of the cost of production and sale of cement. Provided that as per the proposal, tolls will be due for use of roads category one and two of the national road network, which are the most commonly used roads for the transportation of input materials for cement production, as well as for transportation of the finished cement itself to distributors and end users, the delivery prices of our production will increase shock-like and by a lot.

Next, increasing the price of the ready-to-use finished product as a result of growing  transport costs for distribution and sale will result in an increase in the value of public procurement in construction and in maintenance of public buildings and infrastructure, and increase the public spending for such facilities, which for its part will limit the ability of public awarding authorities to build and maintain assets, e.g. roads, schools, kindergartens, etc., which will be to the detriment of the citizens in the respective population centres. Cement is also a key input material in construction in the private sector, which is why businesses and citizens alike will experience significant appreciation of building and development works.

Guided by these considerations, BACI insists on a reassessment of the scope of application of the tolls, whereby it is limited to the use of motorways on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria. In this way, Bulgarian road carriers will have alternatives in choosing a route which in turn will allow them to control the transport costs.

Additionally, the deliveries of the cement plants are mainly of bulk cargo using the transport of specialized trucks. Our trucks do not have the technical ability to load another type of bulk in their return course because they would cause contamination of the next delivery of cement. In practice, BACI members will have to pay double toll tax per ton of production delivered.

In this regard, since the toll system allows the truck to be weighted, we suggest that for empty trucks, at the return course to the place of loading, to be paid a lower tax toll than for full trucks, which could be regulated in the future tariff either on a proportional basis or as a solid percentage of the price for a corresponding full truck. We insist on a discount from the regular tariff, for empty return courses.

In connection with the above, BACI welcomes the postponement of the launch of the toll system until 1 March 2020, insisting that in the meantime a broad discussion to be held on the volume and ways of payment of toll taxes.