Last year around 41.1 million mostly foreign-registered tucks travelled through Belgian territory, according to statistics from the Belgian road tolls agency Viapass.
This marks a record number of trucks on Belgian roads and a 5% increase compared to six years ago.
A record number of trucks means record levels of income for the Belgian government: heavy goods vehicles must pay tolls for using Belgian motorways and some municipal roads, calculated per kilometre.
The greater a truck weighs, the higher the toll it must pay to travel on roads. Likewise, the more polluting the vehicle, the higher the taxes.
Belgian government enjoys higher tax revenues from increased traffic
Last year, the government raised more than €822 million from the passage of trucks and lorries through the country, a 25% increase compared to the first recorded year in 2016 and a record income for the Belgian government. In March alone, Viapas received €77 million towards the Federal budget.
The majority of tolls paid by lorries in Belgium are not paid by locals, but rather international truckers hauling loads across Europe. Belgian-registered vehicles represent 46.6% of toll payments, while 10.6% came from Poland, 10.2% from the Netherlands and 10.1% from outside the European Union.
The vast majority of heavy goods vehicles that travel through Belgium are high-capacity vehicles carrying loads of over 32 tons. Vehicles are increasingly carrying heavier loads in an attempt to streamline and economise shipments, and these vehicles pay a higher toll to use Belgium’s roads.
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When it comes to the most common type of engine used by HGV vehicles, according to Viapass, most vehicles are Euro-6 ones sold after 2015 which have a nitrous dioxide limit of no more than 80 milligrams per kilometre. Nevertheless, around 4.4% of heavily polluting lorries still use Belgian roads.
Money raised from tolls helps finance projects on both the Federal and municipal levels. In 2021, Flanders used money from the tolls in order to construct the Kennedy, Tijsman and Craeybeckx tunnels, as well as upgrading sound barriers and road surfaces.
In an interview with Het Nieuwsbald, Administrator General of Viapass Johan Schoups stated that there had been a sharp decrease of vehicles from Ukraine and Russia travelling through Belgium. Russian and Ukrainian vehicles have fallen from 2,000 per month to around 500 and 1,200 respectively.