ESTA waiting for VEMAGS response

ESTA is waiting for a response from the German authorities to concerns expressed about the new VEMAGS permit system for heavy transport introduced in the country earlier this year.

German government officials faced strong criticism during a lively debate at a meeting with industry representatives in November. ESTA and fellow German and European associations hope to receive details about proposed changes early in the New Year.

VEMAGS is the German online system for the application and approval for oversized and heavy transports in all 16 federal states.

Transport companies and their clients say that the new rules are leading to increased costs, unnecessary bureaucracy and greater delays. They mean that permits can only be ordered from the regional authority where the transport starts or where the transport company has its headquarters or a major branch office. This leaves foreign transport companies with lesser application points.

The impact has been to reduce the number of authorities from whom a transport company can obtain a permit for a heavy transport or abnormal load, with some authorities becoming overloaded by the demand. The cost of obtaining permits under the new regulations has also increased, in some cases significantly.

Delays and uncertainty in the previous system meant it suffered from what the authorities called “permit tourism”. Because the time to award a permit varies from days to weeks, companies often send in applications to multiple authorities and accept the one from the authority that reacts the quickest.

ESTA Director, Ton Klijn said: “Quite understandably, the German authorities wanted to deal with the permit tourism issue, but the changes they have introduced have caused great difficulties, and not reduced the delays that are the cause of the problems in the first place.”