Haulage rates hit three-year high as sector grapples with Brexit, driver shortages and Covid-19

Fri 14 Jan 2022
Posted by: Noelle McElhatton
Trade News

UK road freight rates have hit their highest level in three years, surveys show.

December data from the haulage booking platform and analytics firm Transport Exchange Group (TEG) showed the average haulage price per mile was up by over 30% in the year to December 2021.

The Loadstar reports a 5.3% increase between November and December, as seasonal demand reached its annual high.

“What we’re seeing is a combination of a normal seasonal high superimposed over driver availability and other cost issues,” said Kirsten Tisdale, director of logistics consultant Aricia.

Brexit and Covid-19

Lyall Cresswell, Transport Exchange Group CEO, added: “Brexit and Covid-19 continue to be the two main headaches for the road freight industry. Brexit has not only caused many drivers to leave the industry – it has also resulted in much more red tape and delay whenever drivers cross borders.”

As previously covered in the IOE&IT’s Daily Update, the government is tackling the shortage of HGV drivers with new training opportunities and facilities, but experts warn that more needs to be done to make lorry driving an attractive career option.

The HGV sector is also suffering from flight to courier driving, which is increasingly a more attractive sector for drivers to work in, resulting in haulage rates rising faster.

Kent delays

Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that work on the post-Brexit lorry contraflow system in Kent will disrupt the M20, the motorway serving Folkestone and then Dover via the A20, for a year.

The Operation Brock system, installed to manage traffic in Kent after Brexit, will now itself cause 12 months of disruption as National Highways must move the barrier from the edge to the middle of the motorway to tackle drainage issues.