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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Foreign Vehicles to Pay Road Toll in Russia

Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko signed a government directive on a new road toll for vehicles registered in foreign countries.

Under the new toll, car owners with foreign registration plates travelling in Russia for a period of one to seven days will have to pay 125 rubles ($20). For the same period, foreign-registered buses will be charged 250 rubles to 300 rubles, depending on their seating capacity, a government directive said.

Heavy trucks -- depending on their capacity to carry goods -- will be charged from 250 rubles to 550 rubles per week, the directive said.

But the directive, which was signed last week, also said the new levy would only apply to vehicles registered in those countries which impose road tolls on Russian-registered vehicles.

Alexander Chibisov, chief spokesman for the Federal Road Service which will be overseeing the implementation of the new levy, said the road toll will target vehicles from countries that presently lack bilateral toll exemption treaties with Russia as well as those which have been violating them.

The levy is aimed at vehicles registered in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Czech, Turkey and Yugoslavia, Chibisov said, adding that the toll will be fully effective in the next month or two.

Besides the obvious goal of contributing toward building and maintaining roads, the new toll, expected to garner about 80 million rubles a year, is aimed at creating equal competitive conditions for foreign and Russian-registered freight trucks, Chibisov said.

The levy on foreign-registered trucks was welcomed by the Russian Association of Auto Carriers, or ASMAP, which had been lobbying for the measure for some time.

"We think there should be a fairness -- if we are charged road tolls in other countries, foreign carriers [in Russia] should pay them also," said Vladimir Donskoy, head of ASMAP's international shipments department.

But managers of several freight and trucking companies in Moscow regarded the levy as fairly insignificant in amount and said it was not likely to cause any difficulties for their operations, adding that the consumers will bear the brunt of the new levy.

"I don't think it will affect our business," said Jaap Oosterling, general director of Visbeen. "Cargoes will have to be delivered, and of course the consumer will pay in the end," he said.

Peter Vins, president of Vinlund, a freight-forwarding company, said compared with the average fees from $250 to $400 a day that the companies charge their customers when their trucks are waiting for customs clearance, the new levy of $10 or so a day will not have much effect on their business.