November Marks First Price Surge Since 2019, Though Still Below Previous Years
In a noteworthy shift, November has seen a 1.4% increase in overall prices, rising from 120.5 to 122.2. This marks the first November rise since 2019, although the figures remain lower than the same period in the preceding two years.
The primary contributor to this uptick is a significant surge in courier prices, soaring from 125.5 to 128 points (2.0%). Additionally, haulage prices experienced a slight uptick, increasing by 0.6 points from 114.8 to 115.4 over the course of November.
Interestingly, fuel prices have taken a dip during the peak season, offering a welcome respite to operators managing expenses during the most costly time of the year.
Fuel prices, now available online due to recent legislation, indicate current petrol prices at £151.02 (-2.65% change), and diesel prices at £158.97 (-1.98% change). With motorists empowered to compare prices, this initiative appears successful, showcasing an average decrease of 20.79% from the previous year.
The past year has posed significant challenges for UK hauliers, with data from accountancy firm Price Bailey revealing a doubling of business closures compared to two years ago. The industry grapples with soaring overheads and the impact of interest rate hikes, making debt servicing increasingly expensive.
The report highlights a particular risk for London-based haulage businesses, with 41% now classified as maximum risk, up from 26% the previous year. This trend is likely to extend across the UK, with mounting pressures stemming from unsustainable operational costs.
Lyall Cresswell, CEO of Transport Exchange Group, commented, “We’ve witnessed rising prices over the last month, a departure from the usual pre-Christmas trend of price dips. The drop in fuel prices and the relative stability of road freight prices compared to last year offer cautious optimism as we approach 2024.
“As we look to the next year, we’re hopeful that government commitments to the haulage sector will be honoured, leading to significant progress in proposed initiatives to accelerate net-zero efforts.”
Kirsten Tisdale, Director of Logistics consultants Aricia Limited and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport, added, “Despite a believable 10% decrease in volumes this year, as stated by Richard Smith, MD of the RHA, and deflationary diesel prices compared to a year ago, the TEG haulage price index has seen a slight rise, narrowing the gap with last year’s figure. The courier index has also shown resilience, almost closing the recent gap against last year, possibly influenced by the timing of Black Friday.”