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Truck toll in Germany - repayment claims in the millions

The European Court of Justice has ruled that the calculation of the German truck toll is partly in breach of EU law.

The ECJ ruled that the calculation of the German truck toll was probably incorrectly excessive since at least 2007.

This decision was preceded by an action brought by a Polish freight forwarder for repayment of more than EUR 12,000 overpaid truck toll from 2010 and 2011.

The European Court of Justice has now ruled that the inclusion of costs for traffic police in the toll calculation is not compatible with the European infrastructure costs directive, as these are not so-called "infrastructure costs". However, only such "infrastructure costs" may be used for the calculation of the toll. Furthermore, there are doubts as to the correctness of the interest rates used in the calculation of the cost of capital.

In total, the calculated toll for trucks could have been between 3.8% and 6% too high.

The decision of the referring court, the Oberverwaltungsgericht (OVG) NRW, is still pending. Nevertheless, claims for reimbursement in the millions of euros are already to be assumed for haulage companies which have been operating in Germany in recent years.

Irrespective of the outcome of the proceedings still pending before the OVG NRW, the decision of the ECJ shows that a review of the truck toll paid in the past may result in substantial repayment claims for many companies.

We will keep you informed about further developments.

Source: ECJ C-321/19