It is with great surprise that we have taken note of the decision by State Secretary Snel to increase the excise duty on LNG as of 1 January 2019: as a result the unstoppable development of LNG trucks within Europe will be seriously affected in the Netherlands. The Dutch government is withdrawing its support at a time when the countries around us are using special excise duty rates and Lkw-Maut exemptions to promote an international LNG network. This while no alternatives are available immediately and in the near future. At a time when everyone is aware that transport must and can be greener, we find this an incomprehensible choice.
Switching to an alternative fuel requires substantial investment in both time and money. In the Netherlands, together with leading players in the transport sector, we have expeditiously and ambitiously invested in the development of LNG trucks and LNG infrastructure. Other European countries are jealous of what we have achieved and are now even benefiting from it in their development. With this decision, however, all the lead we have in the Netherlands will be lost and we will be left far behind.
Naturally we, as Rolande with our 13 LNG filling stations in the Netherlands, will be impacted but we particularly sympathise with the transporters and shippers who have also done their utmost to achieve more sustainable transport. They will feel this rate increase immediately.
And those who are now about to make a switch to LNG and CO2 reduction will only do so if there is a business case and certainty in the longer run. In our view, extending the refund scheme until 2022 is therefore an absolute must for the further scaling up of LNG and to be able to continue the transition, which is currently under development, to Bio-LNG.
After a pioneering phase, we are now on the verge of developing multiple production sites for Bio-LNG with the aid of European subsidies. From 2020, these can supply more than a quarter of the current LNG fleet with Bio-LNG. The State Secretary’s decision means that we will need to discuss the progress of these projects with our partners because the increase in excise duty that also applies to Bio-LNG will in any event cause delays.
Together with other parties and interest groups we will do everything we can in the coming months in an endeavour to convince the State Secretary that his decision is wrong and as a result a great opportunity will be missed to invest in sustainable transport. We will also involve the members of the Dutch House of Representatives in this matter as they will still be able to influence this decision during the debate on the 2019 Tax Plan. Regardless of the outcome, we will continue to devote all our energy to making heavy road transport more sustainable.