UK hauliers caught by Romanian tolls
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• International operators travelling to Turkey via Romania are up in arms this week following a decision by the Romanian Government to break an international agreement by forcing hauliers to pay $500 (£330) in transit tolls.
As CM went to press, several British drivers were waiting at the border for instructions, having been told that any entering the country without permits would be fined $500. It is unclear if these permits can be purchased at the border. The move is in direct contravention of a bilateral agreement signed by the Romanian and British governments allowing trucks free transit through Romania.
The Department of Transport says the British Government is aware of the problem and the Embassy in Bucharest is negotiating on UK hauliers' behalf, with a promise to get refunds for anyone who has bought a permit. The DOT con firms that the International Road Freight Office in Newcastle had been surprised to receive 100 permits for sale.
Romania is considered an important transit country for hauliers on lucrative fruit contracts. Gary Haley of Braintreebased European Overland, which runs nine trucks down to Turkey, say the permits are equivalent to the profits made on each run. "If these permits are here to stay we will send our vehicles down through Italy and across on the ferry to Greece," he says.