Retailers warn of disruption from Russian road levy

Russian road levy: Russian retailers have warned that the introduction of a new federal levy on 12-ton trucks could disrupt supplies and lead to goods shortages in stores.
The tax, which is to be raised on heavy goods vehicles using Russia’s network of federal roads, is due to come into force tomorrow and has lead to roadblocks springing up in protest in major cities across the country, including St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk and  Yekaterinburg. Road haulage companies are now required to install satellite devices in all their trucks so that the drivers can pay in advance of or after a journey.
Truck owners and companies have been able to register for the scheme a month in advance, but retailers are claiming  that many drivers will not have been issued the devices in time for tomorrow’s deadline. A spokesperson for the X5 Retail Group that owns the Pyatyorochka, Perekryostok and Karusel chains has estimated that a third of their supplies might not reach store shelves in time.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov  yesterday told the RIA Novosti  news agency  that the Transportation Ministry “was making every effort” to reach a compromise with the protesting truckers, adding that both sides “needed to show flexibility” with regard to the new levy system.