|management||Gerhard Schulz , Chairman of the Management Board|
|Number of employees||600|
|sales||EUR 2.1 billion (2015/16)|
The Toll Collect GmbH ( English to collect toll "collect toll" from the Latin telonium "Zollstätte"), based in Berlin, is a public company wholly owned by the Federal Republic of Germany . It was commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Transport to set up a system for collecting truck tolls on German autobahns , to operate it and to settle the fees due. In 2018, the company employed a total of around 600 people in Berlin as well as in Langenhagen , Nuremberg , Pforzheim and Potsdam .
Toll Collect was established in March 2002 as a joint venture of Deutsche Telekom (45% shareholder stake), Daimler (45%; about Daimler Financial Services ) and the French Vinci Group established (through its subsidiary Cofiroute) 10% (). The companies involved took part in the tender for the toll system as a bidding consortium ETC (Electronic Toll Collect); Cofiroute was included because the applicants were required to have experience with similar projects.
The consortium was awarded the contract in July 2002, and Transport Minister Kurt Bodewig (SPD) signed the contract with Toll Collect on September 20, 2002 (two days before the Bundestag election) . For the operation of the toll system, Toll Collect was to receive around 650 million euros annually from toll revenues for twelve years.
Commissioning the system
Technical problems during the test operation of the toll system led to delays in the introduction of the system. The start date originally planned for August 31, 2003 could not be met by Toll Collect. After they were accused of euphemistic or hesitant statements, the managing director, Michael Rummel, and the chairman of the supervisory board, Klaus Mangold , were dismissed in October 2003. The new managing director was Viag Interkom manager Hans-Burghardt Ziermann, and the new chairman of the supervisory board from December Peter Mihatsch . They were replaced again in March 2004. After the successful completion of the trial operation, the Federal Office for Goods Transport (BAG) issued the “Special Provisional Operating Permit” (BVBe) on December 15, 2004. The official start of tolling took place on January 1, 2005, initially in a technically reduced form. The system has been running with full functionality since January 1st, 2006.
Technical background of the satellite-based toll system
In principle, every truck on German motorways has to pay a toll that is dependent on several parameters. The toll can be paid in various ways. On the one hand, a certain route can be booked over the Internet before the start of the journey; on the other hand, the toll can also be paid at so-called “toll station terminals”. The third and actually preferred way is fully automatic billing using the GPS system, which requires the installation of so-called on-board units (OBU). When the truck starts, the OBU switches on and locates the vehicle's position using satellite navigation . The data collected in the process is transmitted to a data center by mobile phone and processed there for invoicing.
In order to prevent toll payments from being misappropriated (e.g. by simply switching off the OBUs), trucks are photographed at the approx. 300 control bridges and checked by approx. 450 mobile control points. The data obtained are compared with the data in the central computer and, if necessary, appropriate measures are initiated. The total complaint rate is permanently below 1%.
With the expansion of the toll on federal highways, control pillars in a distinctive blue color were set up on federal highways in 2018. The color scheme should make it possible to distinguish between speed cameras.
Hopes to offer additional services (such as fleet management applications) based on the toll system were not fulfilled. The export of the technology is also disappointing. For the latter purpose, Deutsche Telekom founded the subsidiary Satellic in 2006 , which has been collecting the Belgian truck toll since 2016 .
Operator revenues and bonuses
Between 2007 and 2014 Toll Collect received 185 million euros in bonuses for the motorways, plus up to 42 million euros for federal highways. The goals underlying the bonuses were easy to achieve, according to a report. From the first contract, which was valid for twelve years from 2002, Toll Collect received over one billion euros, which covers the cost of capital and the entrepreneurial risk. In addition, Toll Collect received bonuses of more than 20 million euros per year for the normal operation of the system. For total collection and detection rates of 100 percent, Toll Collect received a bonus of 30 million euros in the 2013/2014 financial year.
According to an audit report that was kept under lock and key on behalf of an arbitration tribunal, Telekom and Daimler invoiced 211 million euros too much in the 2004/2005 financial year. In 2008/2009 it should have been 83 million euros, in 2012/2013 4 million euros. No other fiscal years were audited.
On March 27, 2012, representatives of the federal government and Toll Collect signed the "Agreement on the Collection of Tolls on Federal Highways" in Berlin. In addition to the operating costs, Toll Collect received a guaranteed return of five million euros per year as well as a “performance-based bonus”, which should bring in up to 42 million euros in addition in the coming years. According to an internal calculation from the time the contract was signed, the consortium expected an annual profit before interest and taxes of around 30 million euros. This was offset by annual operating costs of 5.3 million euros. After the "Agreement on the collection of tolls on other federal highways" concluded at the end of 2014, the consortium received an additional payment of 3.3 million per year and a return of the same amount for the toll collection on a further 1,100 kilometers of federal highways. This expansion of the toll requirement on two-lane federal highways was the result of an initiative by Federal Transport Minister Ramsauer in 2011 to generate additional income for the transport budget.
In 2002, the EU competition authorities had concerns about parts of the Toll Collect business plan. The toll system and the associated so-called value-added services such as truck location and text transmission could have helped Daimler achieve a dominant position in telematics systems for transport and logistics . In the opinion of the EU authorities, the group would have been able to control the access of other telematics service providers to the on-board units (OBU) called on-board devices by participating in Toll Collect . In order to obtain EU approval, Daimler and Deutsche Telekom were forced to accept several conditions. For example, the Telematics Gateway company, which was founded for value-added services such as traffic flow analysis and guidance, is not allowed to be controlled by Daimler and / or Deutsche Telekom. The on-board devices must also be combinable with systems from other manufacturers.
Development potential of Toll Collect
In many European countries, decisions regarding the introduction, expansion or further development of toll technology were pending. The main competition for the satellite-based system from Toll Collect was, on the one hand, microwave technology, as it is already used in some European countries (e.g. Austria, Spain), and, on the other hand, the toll system in Switzerland, in which all relevant data is stored on a chip card which must be sent regularly to the responsible company for invoicing (see also heavy vehicle tax (Switzerland) ). An exclusively satellite-based system based on the GPS or Galileo system is not offered. Toll Collect took part in the tender for the truck toll in Austria , but was unsuccessful because the Austrian government decided to use microwave technology.
As long as the EU Commission is striving for a Europe-wide toll system based on uniform satellite technology in the long term, companies such as Toll Collect or the Swiss Fela have better chances than competitors with other technology when it comes to tenders.
The toll contracts in Germany initially ran until August 2015. The federal government was able to extend the contract up to three times for one year each time. A takeover of the company by the federal government and a new tender for the toll system were also considered. According to a media report, the federal government had considered taking over the company temporarily for lack of alternatives.
According to information from negotiating circles, Daimler is no longer interested in Toll Collect, while Telekom wants to remain involved. According to a press report, Allianz and Siemens are considering entering Toll Collect. The insurer is interested in investment opportunities, the technology group in technology. The Austrian toll operator Kapsch and the Italian Autostrada group are also interested in a takeover.
According to the federal government, the extension of the contract would have the advantage that the federal government could continue to use the existing collection system that it financed and that the risks of toll operation would continue to lie with a private operator. In addition, the intended toll expansion in 2015 can only be implemented with a contract extension. The toll requirement is to be extended to around 1,100 km of four-lane federal roads on July 1, 2015, and the toll limit is to be reduced from 12 to 7.5 t gross vehicle weight as of October 1, 2015. The introduction of two additional axle classes is also planned. The first two measures are expected to generate around 115 million euros in 2015 and around 380 million euros in 2016 and 2017, minus the system and collection costs. The one-time costs of these three measures for Toll Collect are estimated at around 23 million euros, the annual operating costs at 33 million euros. At the Federal Office for Goods Transport, the first two measures mentioned will result in one-off and annual costs of EUR and 15 million each.
According to its own information, the federal government decided in mid-November 2014 to extend the toll operator contract with Toll Collect by three years until August 31, 2018. At the same time, an agreement was reached with Toll Collect on the expansion of the truck toll on federal highways, which is planned from July 1, 2015, and the lowering of the mandatory toll limit to 7.5 tons. The operator remuneration remains at the previous level, Toll Collect continues to be unrestrictedly liable for toll failures on motorways and an option from the federal government to take over the shares in Toll Collect GmbH remains in place. According to the "agreement on the collection of tolls on other federal highways", the consortium receives an order of 3.3 million per year and a return of the same amount.
In May 2016 it was announced that Toll Collect would be awarded the contract to expand the toll system. A total of 503 million euros are to be spent on tolling a further 40,000 kilometers in 2017 and 2018.
Various companies, including various toll operators from other European countries, are interested in continuing to operate the system.
Toll Collect has belonged to the Federal Republic of Germany since September 1, 2018. According to the plans of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), the award procedure for the renewed privatization of Toll Collect should be completed by the end of 2018. The interim operator contract should automatically end on February 28, 2019. A private company / consortium should then operate the truck toll system again until 2031. For this purpose, the federal government had planned expenditure in the federal budget from 2019 for the operation of the truck toll system in the amount of 800 million euros. On October 26, 2018 , the Federal Audit Office submitted a report to the German Bundestag on its review of the preliminary economic feasibility study for the award procedure for the renewed privatization of Toll Collect and criticized the economic feasibility study commissioned by the BMVI in 2016 and used as a basis for the Federal Government's decision for the renewed privatization of Toll Collect serves. According to the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, the fundamentals of the profitability calculation, which initially favored continued operation by a private operator, have changed in the meantime. In response to this criticism, Toll Collect remains wholly owned by the Federal Republic of Germany. However, journalists attributed the whereabouts of Toll Collect to the federal government in publications from December 2019 to the contracts concluded by Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer with industry representatives on the failed car toll in December 2018 and also critically assessed the role of State Secretary and later Toll Collect boss Gerhard Schulz . According to this, the provision of parts of the Toll Collect infrastructure had already been assured to Scheuer's contractual partners at the time before the bidding process for Toll Collect privatization was officially ended in January 2019.
In July 2005, the Federal Ministry of Transport brought a lawsuit against the toll consortium to an arbitration tribunal . The then President of the Federal Court of Justice Günter Hirsch (chairman), Horst Eidenmüller (named by the federal government) and Claus-Wilhelm Canaris (named by the Toll Collect shareholders) were named as arbitrators . Toll Collect is accused of deliberately leaving the federal government in the dark about the problems with development and the associated delays and loss of income. Due to various technical difficulties, the system could only be put into operation at the beginning of 2005 with a delay of 16 months. "The operators have deceived the federal government by giving promises to the dates of commissioning partly with knowledge of the delays and partly without sufficient reason in the dark, ie fraudulently ," it says. 1.6 billion euros in contractual penalties and 3.5 billion euros in loss of income were asserted. The amount in dispute in the arbitration has now grown to around seven billion euros, including interest. In return, the operator consortium is claiming around one billion euros that have been withheld by the federal government. An agreement was not in sight in December 2012. In December 2012, a new judge, Wolfgang Nitsche, took over the proceedings.
From September 30, 2013, in the week after the federal election , the arbitral tribunal should meet again in Munich (as of July 2013). After six days of negotiations, a decision and thus a line under the eight-year dispute should be drawn. According to the federal government, two arbitration proceedings were running in April 2014: In the first case - the federal government against Toll Collect GbR and its consorts Deutsche Telekom AG and Daimler Financial Services AG for damages and contractual penalties - a first oral hearing was scheduled for May 2014. In the second case - the operating company Toll Collect GmbH against the federal government for operator remuneration - the next hearing was planned before the same arbitral tribunal in September / October 2014. According to a press report from October 2014, the arbitral tribunal agreed to have an expert clarify whether the consortium around Daimler and Telekom is entitled to outstanding payments in the billions.
In May 2018, the contracting parties agreed on a payment of 3.2 billion euros to the Federal Republic. With the consent of the arbitral tribunal to this agreement, the arbitration proceedings were ended after 13 years in July 2018.
Negotiations and agreements are secret and are also kept under lock and key vis-à-vis the members of the German Bundestag. In 2009, a large part of the 17,000-page contract from 2002 by Stern and Wikileaks was published. The longstanding, extensive secrecy of the contents of the contract vis-à-vis parliamentarians and supervisory bodies has been widely criticized.
The lack of timely tendering by the Ministry of Transport was also criticized in order to be able to hand over the system to another operator after the end of the contract.
Further criticism is directed against the high system complexity and the basic concept, which, by restricting the system to motorways and individual federal road sections, pushes environmental pollution into secondary roads and thereby increases it.
The ARD magazine Panorama and the weekly newspaper Die Zeit have confidential documents that Toll Collect has billed hundreds of millions of euros too much to the federal government. These included trips to luxury hotels over several years and the sponsorship of a classic car rally , in which employees of the company's owners took part, were also billed to the state.
On May 10, 2017, a house search was carried out at the Toll Collect company headquarters in Berlin. The cause of the searches was the suspicion of serious billing fraud by some of the operator's employees. The starting point is the implementation of a contract from 2012, in which an extension of the toll collection was carried out on a further 1,100 km of federal roads, which is said to have led to a return flow in the millions through a "deliberately excessive calculation". The investigation was triggered by a report from a previous Toll Collect employee. Toll Collect initially dismissed this employee unsuccessfully and then isolated him.
After an anonymous criminal complaint, the public prosecutor and the Berlin State Criminal Police Office began investigations against two managers and a former employee of Toll Collect at the end of 2016. Internal emails, contracts and Excel tables showed that the company had charged the federal government with operating costs of five million euros in the course of expanding the toll to two-lane federal highways with annual operating costs of around two million euros.
The then State Secretary Gerhard Schulz (CDU) (today's head of Toll Collect) intervened personally with the investigating public prosecutor in the investigation against Toll Collect as an official of the Ministry of Transport. According to Schulz, the investigation would come at a sensitive time, as a possible contract extension with Toll Collect is pending. Schulz later testified as a witness before the public prosecutor's office and described the inflated and questionable statements to the federal government as appropriate.
- ARD: How Toll Collect deals with tax money | Panorama | NDR. August 15, 2018. Retrieved August 18, 2018 .
- German Federal Ministry of Transport on the truck toll ( Memento from May 12, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
- Braked automatic . heise.de, November 2002; In-depth information on the toll system
- Internet portal from Toll Collect on toll-collect.de; accessed on 23 August 2018.
- Annual financial statements / annual financial report for the business year from September 01, 2015 to August 31, 2016; Accessed at www.unternehmensregister.de on September 26, 2017
- Daniel Delhaes: Maut from Siemens and Allianz . In: Handelsblatt . July 15, 2013, p. 10 .
- Request for the Freedom of Information Act on FragDenStaat.de
- Toll Collect: New control for federal highways. Archived from the original on July 21, 2018 ; accessed on July 21, 2018 .
- Daniel Delhaes: Completely procedural procedure . In: Handelsblatt . March 8, 2013, p. 6 .
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- In Belgium there is a new truck toll company news. (No longer available online.) In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. April 1, 2016, archived from the original on April 3, 2016 .
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- 300 million euros overcharged . In: Der Spiegel . No. 7 , 2018, p. 24 ( online ).
- Sven Becker, Andreas Wassermann: The money is on the street . In: Der Spiegel . No. 20 , 2017, p. 36 f . ( online - May 13, 2017 ).
- Kerstin Schwenn: Toll Collect: Federal government is considering separation. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. February 15, 2012, accessed February 15, 2012 .
- Daniel Delhaes: Ramsauer's source of money is still gushing . In: Handelsblatt . March 8, 2013, p. 7 .
- Daniel Delhaes, Peter Thelen: Bund takes over Toll Collect. In: Handelsblatt . December 10, 2012, p. 8.
- Daniel Delhaes: Allianz and Siemens in the toll booth . In: Handelsblatt . July 15, 2013, p. 1 .
- German Bundestag (Ed.): Answer of the Federal Government to the small question of the MPs Dr. Valerie Wilms, Matthias Gastel, Stephan Kühn (Dresden), other MPs and the parliamentary group BÜNDNIS 90 / DIE GRÜNEN - Printed matter 18/3137 - Extension of the operator contract with Toll Collect GmbH . tape 18 , no. 3478 , December 5, 2014, ISSN 0722-8333 , p. 2, 4–6 ( dip21.bundestag.de [PDF]).
- Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (Ed.): Truck tolls in Germany are being expanded. Press release from November 18, 2014.
- Half a billion for Toll Collect . In: Der Spiegel . No. 22 , 2016, p. 27 ( online ).
- Bad compromise on Toll Collect? In: Der Spiegel . No. 20 , 2018, p. 27 ( online - May 12, 2018 ).
- federal government remains the owner of the toll operator Toll Collect. In: bmvi.de. Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, January 15, 2019, accessed on January 19, 2019 .
- Federal Government reserves the toll Toll Collect . In: Der Spiegel . No. 3 , 2019, p. 11 ( online ).
- Kai Schlieter and Joe Sperling: "Mission Toll Collect: Transport Minister Scheuer has a mega problem" berliner-zeitung.de of December 10, 2019
- Johannes Klostermeier: Infinite dispute over Toll Collect billions . CIO.de, July 2, 2010.
- German Bundestag (Ed.): Answer of the Federal Government to the small question of the MPs Dr. Valerie Wilms, Matthias Gastel, Stephan Kühn (Dresden), other MPs and the parliamentary group BÜNDNIS 90 / DIE GRÜNEN - printed matter 18/887 - future of Toll Collect . tape 18 , no. 1156 , November 4, 2014, ISSN 0722-8333 , p. 2 ( dipbt.bundestag.de [PDF]).
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- Toll Collect pays 3.2 billion euros to the federal government . In: meta.tagesschau.de . ( tagesschau.de ).
- State secret truck toll - How commercial politics and large corporations hang around Part 2 - The chairman of the transport committee in the broadcast of WDR 5
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- Head of department saw no fraud . In: Der Spiegel . No. 9 , 2018, p. 14 ( online ).