Price of road freight rises by a third – driven by labour and fuel spikes – survey suggests

Thu 4 Nov 2021
Posted by: Noelle McElhatton
Trade News

UK road freight prices have risen by more than a third in the past year amid “unprecedented demand” for drivers and lorries.

Rates are stabilising but will remain high for some time according to a report that surveyed 8,000 businesses.

Lloyds Loading List reports the Transport Exchange Group (TEG) survey which found spiking demand for UK courier and haulier services.

Some steadying

Before stabilising last month, the sector saw the highest price-per-mile average across all vehicle types in September 2021 – up by 21.8% on September 2019, and 26.1% on September 2020. 

Road prices were up by even more at 37%.

The TEG Road Transport Price Index will be updated monthly, with a new report released on the third day of every month.

It has been estimated that there is a shortage of up to 100,000 HGV drivers in the UK which has led to spiralling labour costs in the sector, reported the BBC.

Drivers in other sectors, including refuse collection and public transport, are reportedly being attracted by higher salaries leaving shortages in the areas they leave.

Over by Christmas – next year?

Despite government action to attract EU drivers to the UK with short-term visas, and changes to HGV testing, the driver shortfall will continue until next year government minister Baroness Vere predicted, reported the Times.

Fuel prices have also recently hit nine-year highs recently, reports the Guardian, with diesel up by 30p a litre this year.

The American Journal of Transport reports that road freight prices have hit historic highs across Europe, according to the European Road Freight Rate Benchmark for Q3.

Ship and plane prices up

Although there is some evidence that shipping rates may have started to stabilise, the past 18 months have seen rates rise exponentially resulting in record profits for shipping companies and record high prices for companies moving goods.

According to the Loadstar, ocean freight benchmarking platform Xeneta’s short-term freight rate index has recorded a 900% increase in the past 12 months alone.

Other modes are also up in price. The Loadstar also reports that air freight is getting more expensive with rates 37% higher than a year according to figures from Clive Data Services.