Felixstowe: Haulage boss claims A14 tolls could cost his business £200,000 a year

A14, Huntingdon

A14, Huntingdon - Credit: Archant

A haulage boss says the proposed toll on a new stretch of the A14 could cost his company £200,000 a year.

Paul Dawson, managing director of Deben Transport, based on the edge of the Port of Felixstowe, said that money would have to be passed on to his customers – creating the possibility that some may move their business to other ports.

Mr Dawson is one of a growing number of hauliers at Felixstowe who are worried about the potential impact of the proposed toll.

More than 70% of the trade which comes through Britain’s biggest container port heads for the north and midlands – around half of it travels by road, using the A14, with the rest going by rail.

Highways Agency plans seem to indicate that there will be no way for truckers to avoid the toll without driving miles out of their way and having to fork out for more diesel.

Mr Dawson said his company’s lorries do 120 journeys each way through the toll area every day.

He said: “I reckon it would cost us £200,000 a year – that money has to come from somewhere and we cannot magic it out of the air. If we use the toll, it will mean we have to put our prices up for our customers.

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“It may be that those customers decide to look elsewhere and not to ship through the Port of Felixstowe.

“They could go to London Gateway, Thamesport, Tilbury, Southampton – there is plenty of choice.

“Why should we have this extra costs burden? It is very unfair.”

The Highways Agency says it expects the toll to be £3 for trucks.

Mr Dawson said: “They say £3 now but there are no guarantees – by the time it is built, it could be £5, £6 or £8. Imagine what that would do to our costs and those of other hauliers in the area.

“We need to campaign hard against this.”