A courier company with offices based in Basildon is estimating that the increase in tolls at the Dartford River Crossing will add £5,000 a year to it operating costs.
Managing Director at Abby Couriers, Mr Mark Giles, said: “Abby Couriers has its Head Office in Basildon and a depot in Dartford from where we deliver parcels to addresses in Thurrock and South Havering.
“We have five drivers who are each crossing the river up to three times a day as well as senior staff from our Head Office visiting the Dartford team. We are also in the process of opening a new depot at Dover as Abby Couriers continues its planned expansion programme.
“The 50 per cent increase in tolls from this weekend will cost us an extra £4,680 a year just for the regular deliveries across the Thames and with Head Office trips included will be close to £5,000 extra every year.
“That is a direct extra cost to the firm and means we have to generate around an extra £50,000 in sales just to cover that cost – in today's competitive market increasing charges to that extent is not realistic so in effect this is an extra tax on our business.
“I am told that the crossing made £47 million profit last year so how the Government can justify the increase I simply do not understand, but perhaps our local MP Angela Smith can explain to coal businesses why the increase is justified.
“It is all very well the tolls being free between 10.00pm and 6.00am but there are very few households and businesses who want their parcels delivered to their door in the early hours of the morning!
“With the high cost of fuel and the credit crunch biting hard this is yet another financial cost to small businesses trying to provide a service along the Thames Gateway on both sides of the Thames.”
Founded in 1994 Abby Couriers is a family run firm with a Head Office in Luckyn Lane, Basildon and offices at Welwyn Garden City.
With almost 200 staff the firm has more than 175 drivers on the road providing Same Day Delivery Services across the United Kingdom and Europe for key clients who include DHL, FEDEX and TNT.