By Gertjan Breij, Managing Director DKV Euro Service Benelux, United Kingdom & Ireland
On Thursday August 2 I was invited over for a guest visit to Don Trucking in Ulft, the Netherlands. This innovative logistics service provider who operates branches in Bydgoszcz, Poland and Ulft in the Dutch province of Gelderland, is among the many customers of DKV Euro Service who will perform the conclusive tests in August on DKV BOX EUROPE, our EETS-compliant on-board unit that makes it possible in the medium term to settle tolls all over Europe in accordance with the EETS (European Electronic Toll Service) directives. In addition to transaction records, all other processes related to using this on-board unit will be tested, like emergency conditions and customer service.
DKV BOX EUROPE officially submitted to Don Trucking on 2 August last. From left: Gertjan Breij – Managing Director DKV Euro Service Benelux & United Kingdom, Darek Hejnicki – operational director at Don Trucking, Don de Jong – Don Trucking founder and Thomas Klusemann – Head of Product Management Toll at DKV Euro Service
Don Trucking will be testing DKV BOX EUROPE in 15 trucks. After this Don Trucking can easily activate newcomer countries to the DKV BOX EUROPE through an on-line portal and thereby gradually phase out their varying ‘stand-alone’ on-board units without the necessity to replace the existing on-board unit once again. At the time of this first introduction namely, the future technical functionalities required for the German toll system (possibility of setting axle numbers) and Italian tolls have already been integrated. German tolls are planned to join the system by early 2019, followed by the so-called DSRC-countries (Austria, France, Spain and Portugal). Shortly afterwards, Italy and the Öresund and Storebaelt bridges in Scandinavia will be activated as well. This way a large part of the European toll systems will have been integrated in DKV BOX EUROPE by the end of 2019.
Installation completed within fifteen minutes
In spite of many months of technical preparations and the fact that we acquire DKV BOX EUROPE through Toll4EUROPE, a joint-venture composed exclusively of market leaders in the tolls and technology area, namely DKV, Daimler and T-Systems, installing the boxes seemed a bit nervy to me. Will we live up to our promise? To our relief, all our concerns appeared groundless, as the first DKV BOX EUROPE was installed and ready for use within just ten minutes. Installation is also very easy thanks to the fixed cable harness and the fact that most boxes already are equipped with a standard plug connection. Or, in the words of Darek Hejnicki, operational director Poland at Don Trucking: “Even my children could do this”. The new on-board unit is plug & play throughout, more or less similar to an Apple phone. This keeps transition costs at a very low.”
DKV BOX EUROPE, the first EETS-compliant on-board unit issued in the Netherlands
What does this mean for Don Trucking?
After the acts of ceremony and installation of the first DKV BOX EUROPE were over I had a brief concluding chat with Darek Hejnicki and Don de Jong, founder of Don Trucking. DKV BOX EUROPE was developed in close consultation with our customers, organised in several focus groups. This means that our customers have contributed considerably to the eventual functionalities of the on-board unit. After all, never did we go for the development of ‘just’ an on-board unit geared to settle tolls. The system, in fact, is named EETS: European Electronic Toll Service, not EETB: European Electronic Toll Boxes. In spite of this I put great value on having a talk with these two gentlemen on the actual impact of the new on-board unit on their business operations. Is it ‘just’ one box and one bill that counts, or is there more to it?
According to Darek Hejnicki there’s more to it. He told me this: “Of course it is important to substitute all these varying individual toll boxes, cabinets and dashboard tools by a uniform on-board unit fit for use all over Europe. Did you know that we were fined in Poland one time for carrying too much cabin equipment? Surely this must come to an end. To me in my capacity as operational manager however it is mainly a matter of simplifying our operational business processes. You just wouldn’t want to know what it takes me to register one new truck for trips in various countries. Surely one box, one bill is important, but so are one premium portal and non-recurrent paperwork.” To Don de Jong, acquiring insight in real-time data means a significant step forward. “DKV BOX EUROPE makes it possible for us to invoice more quickly and accurately. As DKV is co-owner of the data as a result of its participation in the Toll4Europe joint-venture, we will have instant insight in our purchases and track & trace records as soon as all countries have been integrated in the on-board unit. I have become so enthusiastic about these live data because now it is still a long wait for the required data to arrive for billing, which means an unnecessary delay in our invoicing processes or the requirement of additional checks and controls.”
Obviously I was also very curious to find out why Don Trucking had chosen for the new EETS-compliant toll boxes provided by DKV. Don de Jong: “DKV has always made life easier for us. And we prefer working with parties that are forerunners in the market, just like we are. We show this for instance by building hotels for our truckers and by taking sustainability steps like our recent acquisition of 20 LNG trucks. DKV likewise is a forerunner in the market, especially in technology, and lives up to its promises. We noticed this at the time of the introduction of the new Belgian toll system; we see it again now on the occasion of the introduction of the EETS-compliant toll boxes. We must admit of course that we also considered other providers initially, but in the case of DKV we are sure that they will live up to their promises. According to me we are the first in the Netherlands to carry operational EETS-compliant on-board units in our trucks that need not be substituted for other boxes as soon as new countries like Italy are integrated, which we are very proud of.”