Denmark-based dairy giant Arla Foods has said a new road charging system in Germany, which came into force at the beginning of the year, will result in higher transport costs for deliveries to customers in Germany and other European countries.

The new charge is approximately DKK1 (US$0.17) per km on German motorways for HGVs over 12 tons. Arla Foods uses external hauliers to deliver its dairy products across Europe.

"Since this is a government-imposed charge, we cannot just demand that the hauliers carry the added cost," said Claus Haase, logistics purchasing manager. "We therefore expect the new road charges to add DKK10-12m annually to our costs."

The company said Sweden also plans to introduce a system of road charges and also to raise tax on diesel. This is expected to cost the Swedish food sector SEK1.1bn (US$154.2m) per year.

"The introduction of a kilometre-based road charge will add SEK121m to Arla Foods' costs," Hans Åke Hammarström, director of the Sweden division, said at a recent press conference.