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  • 2016 August 16 10:30

    Russian Gov't mulls extra taxes, charges to cover inland waterways maintenance costs

    Russian Government has proposed imposing new excise tax on diesel fuel and charges on shipping companies to finance Russia's IWWs development. The maintenance of the Russian Inland Waterways require about RUB 21 billion a year, and the lack of funds is about 8 billion rubles, Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said at a meeting of the State Council Presidium in Volgograd.

    Due to budget constraints the minister has proposed to introduce an additional excise duty on diesel fuel, used mainly by trucks for shifting dry bulk cargo flows to inland waterway transport and to attract additional funding for the maintenance of waterways infrastructure.

    According to estimates presented by Maxim Sokolov, the introduction of the excise duty will push the final cost of the goods less than 1%. The official citing Germany as an example that charges trucks weighing 12 tonnes and the collected funds cover the country's inland waterways maintenance.
    Evgeny Moskvichev, chairman of the State Duma Transport Committee told the meeting that within three years 20% to 25% of dry bulk loads are expected to be shifted from overland transport to water transport. "We understand that it is necessary to free the roads, that the road should be developed, and there are really high expenses", said the MP.

    Deputy Minister of Finance Andrey Ivanov, who also attended the meeting noted that the introduction of new fees must be made so that they are reflected in the federal budget, were consolidated and distributed in a balanced system for problems of water transport and waterways management. At the same time the official proposed bringing the inland waterways maintenance costs to the standards in phases, starting with those river stretches (about 6,000 km of the total 110,000 km IWWs length), where about 50% of shipping is concentrated. The deputy minister told that the funds required for maintenance of these sites in accordance with regulations are available.

    "The phased introduction of the standard maintenance costs would make a financial burden on all participants easier and smooth", the Ministry of Finance official said. He also expressed support for a plan to introduce ship scrapping subsidy.

    Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Arkady Dvorkovich added that the government will adjust the rates of diesel excise tax so that it would enable increase funding for inland waterways. “With regard to the charges on shipping companies after the implementation of major infrastructure projects, leading to an increase in throughput capacity, it is also possible to do it, but gently. I think that the government should have the right to establish such fees, but beforehand it is better not to say that we're going to impose them permanently, but it will depend on the nature of the investment," Arkady Dvorkovich was quoted as saying. He also highlighted that the construction of the Nizhny Novgorod and Bagaevsky IWW projects included in the list of top priorities for the government.

    Following the meeting of the Presidium of the State Council, President Vladimir Putin who chaired the meeting has tasked the executive authorities to thrash out the proposals in conjunction with all stakeholders.

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