Friday, April 9, 2010

Road Haulage Association Slates Government Over Truck Fuel Price

Anger Pervades the Freight Transport Sector
Shipping News Feature

UK – Once again the Road Haulage Association(RHA) have made their members views abundantly clear to the British Government as truck fuel costs continued their seemingly inexorable rise. Owners of freight companies across the country have joined in the widespread condemnation of spiralling costs. The RHA’s weekly fuel price survey, published at lunchtime today, shows a leap of 2.39 pence a litre in the national average price compared with a week ago, to 100.49 pence a litre before VAT.

“This is the ninth consecutive weekly increase, during which time prices have risen by 10%,” says director of policy Jack Semple. “In early-February, hauliers were paying 91.47 pence a litre. It is clear that prices have been pushed up by the weakening value of the pound against the dollar, plus the government’s policy on fuel duty, which has risen by one per cent per month during the recession.

“We are also seeing the impact of the ending of the Treasury’s biofuel duty rebate to oil companies, which has caused many suppliers to impose an additional price rise of around 0.8 pence. With diesel accounting for 30-to–40% of truck operating costs, these increases have a serious impact on the cost of road haulage, an indisputably essential element of the UK supply chain.”

The RHA also pointed out that the rising diesel cost would push up inflation and damage UK competitiveness. The Road Haulage Association’s Scottish and Northern Ireland director, Phil Flanders, commented “The position of a lot of road haulage businesses has become very vulnerable because customers were resisting increases in charges, and the cost of operating a commercial vehicle has risen by up to £2,500 in the last month alone.”

Mr Semple also pointed out that the proposed increase in National Insurance Contributions might well have a further debilitating effect on jobs within the transport industry. He indicated that further costs for native hauliers might lead to cases of work being outsourced to foreign competitors. We have already seen several cases this year of operators going to the wall and citing overseas hauliers charging less than their own operating costs as the primary reason.