UK haulage rates surge in September: biggest monthly increase in 9 months
Photo: trans.iNFO

UK haulage rates surge in September: biggest monthly increase in 9 months

The total price per mile for haulage and courier vehicles has seen its biggest monthly increase for nine months, rising from 119.4 in August to 123.3 in September, according to the latest Road Transport Price Index report from Transport Exchange Group. The increase reflects the growing challenges facing the industry amid rising fuel costs and recent changes to the UK's net zero policy.

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Pölös Zsófia

Pölös Zsófia

Journalist Trans.info

19.10.2023

The total price per mile for haulage and courier vehicles has seen its biggest monthly increase for nine months, rising from 119.4 in August to 123.3 in September, according to the latest Road Transport Price Index report from Transport Exchange Group. The increase reflects the growing challenges facing the industry amid rising fuel costs and recent changes to the UK's net zero policy.

UK haulage rates surge in September: biggest monthly increase in 9 months
Photo: trans.iNFO

The September TEG Road Transport Price Index data highlights a substantial rise in average prices within the road transport sector. The overall price per mile for haulage and courier vehicles climbed to 123.3 in September, up from 119.4 in August, reflecting a sharp increase of 3.9 points. This substantial jump is the most significant price increase recorded since December 2022.

However, the report also notes that when comparing prices to the previous year, the overall price was down by 3.5 points. Furthermore, courier prices registered a 4-point decrease compared to the previous September.

Interestingly, within the span of a month, courier prices saw a notable increase of 3.4 points, while haulage prices rose by 4.1 points in September.

A significant factor contributing to the pricing dynamics in the industry is the recent reversal in the UK government’s Net Zero policy, TEG adds.

Announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak on September 20, the policy shift delays the phasing out of new petrol and diesel car sales until 2035. The rationale behind this move is to adopt a more “pragmatic, proportionate, and realistic approach” to achieving Net Zero goals.

While this shift provides breathing room for operators of smaller vehicles, it has raised concerns and confusion, particularly among those with larger vehicles. The lack of clarity regarding the 2040 phase-out date for new large diesel lorry purchases has added to the uncertainty surrounding the policy, the report has found.

Another challenge facing the industry is the rising cost of diesel fuel, which remains a primary energy source for road transport. In September, diesel prices increased yet again, adding to the financial strain on operators.

Fuel prices have seen a continuous uptrend, with average petrol prices rising by 3.4% and diesel prices by 4.19% during the month. This marks the third consecutive month of petrol price increases and the second consecutive month for diesel. While prices remain below the record highs observed in the previous year due to factors like refinery output and geopolitical events, the consistent increase is a notable concern for the industry.

In response to the challenges posed by Net Zero policy uncertainty and fuel price increases, operators are looking for ways to adapt, TEG explains.

Some companies are turning to technology to help make informed decisions. Amazon recently introduced an open-source tool called “Charging Location for Electric Trucks (CHALET),” which takes data from road transport operators to determine optimal locations for electric vehicle (EV) charging points for heavy goods vehicles. This technology could assist in maximizing the benefits of limited funding for EV charging infrastructure.

Additionally, the report highlights the transition from the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) service to the Customs Declaration Service (CDS). The new system offers greater functionality and alignment with international customs standards, which is expected to streamline cross-border trade and benefit the logistics industry.

With the peak Christmas season fast approaching, the road transport industry is grappling with rising prices and the return of the HGV levy, fuel costs, and congestion charges. Internet sales continue to grow, signifying increased demand for shipping and logistics services, and hauliers and couriers are gearing up to meet this heightened demand.

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