System development & implementation

How does the Heavy Goods Vehicle Charge work?

The number of kilometres driven is recorded by special on-board equipment, such as an on-board unit (OBU). Before a truck takes to the roads in the Netherlands, an agreement must be entered into with a toll service provider accredited in the Netherlands. This provider supplies the on-board equipment, calculates the charge and passes it on to the government. The Netherlands Vehicle Authority (RDW) acts as the toll charger and collects the charge on behalf of the Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management.

European and domestic toll service providers

Holders of heavy goods vehicles have a choice between two types of toll service providers.

European toll service (EETS) providers

Because many hauliers drive across the whole of Europe, the European Union has decided that the cross-border use of on-board equipment must be possible. This service is offered by commercial toll service providers. These are known as European Electronic Toll Service Providers (EETS providers).

Customers of EETS providers can use a single contract and associated on-board equipment to pay the toll in several EU member states. EETS providers pass on the charges collected to the government of the country where the kilometres were driven.

The Dutch main service provider

Holders who do not wish to or are unable to have an agreement with an EETS provider can instead enlist the services of the Dutch main service provider (HDA). This provider is contracted by the Dutch government and active in the Netherlands only.

Recording of journeys

Every truck on the Dutch public highway must have on-board equipment in working order and an agreement with a toll service provider active in the Netherlands. The following rules apply:

  • The on-board equipment must always be activated, including on roads where no heavy goods vehicle charge applies.
  • If the on-board equipment malfunctions, it must be replaced or repaired within three hours.

The recording of journeys works as follows:

  1. The on-board equipment determines the truck’s position based on a satellite navigation system (such as GPS) and transmits this to the toll service provider.
  2. The toll service provider uses these data to determine the number of kilometres driven on chargeable roads.
  3. The toll service provider invoices the heavy goods vehicle holder for the kilometres driven.

Data processing

In order to levy the heavy goods vehicle charge, it is necessary to process the personal data of the holder of the heavy goods vehicle. The purpose of this data processing is to ensure that the heavy goods vehicle charge can be paid, collected and enforced. Only the data necessary for this purpose will be processed. All parties involved must comply with general data protection requirements (such as the GDPR). The parties involved are toll service providers, the Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, the Netherlands Vehicle Authority (RDW), the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) and the Central Judicial Collection Agency (CJIB).

System aligned with neighbouring countries

The Dutch system for the heavy goods vehicle charge is aligned with the systems in Belgium, Germany and other European member states. This means that any holder who is a customer of an EETS provider accredited in the Netherlands and Belgium can drive from the Netherlands to Belgium without stopping. The on-board equipment records the kilometres driven in both countries and the holder receives a single invoice for heavy goods vehicle charges in both countries. This is convenient and secure.

Checks and enforcement

In order to ensure that all holders pay the charge, the government will conduct checks on domestic and foreign trucks. These will check whether:

•    The on-board equipment is in good working order.
•    There is a valid agreement with a toll service provider.

The roadside inspections are conducted using monitoring equipment and by staff from the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT). The RDW determines whether an offence has been committed. Anyone who fails to observe the rules will be fined.

The Explanatory Memorandum that accompanies the Heavy Goods Vehicle Charge Act provides a detailed explanation of how the system operates (in Dutch).