Haulage prices rocket amid retail sales spike

Average haulage prices increased by 4.36% in December 2022 – despite further reductions in the cost of fuel. 

At the end of the month, the HX Price Index clocked haulage prices at 122.0 points – up from 116.9 points in November.  

The price increase was almost certainly dampened by falling fuel costs. An unexpected drop in inflation probably also limited the increase. 

The overriding driver of the price rise was undoubtedly a surge in retail sales in the run up to Christmas. As consumers bought more in-store, online, over the phone and via mail order, demand for road transport increased. The increased demand increased haulage prices in turn. It’s a pattern the industry experiences every year. 

Lyall Cresswell, CEO of Transport Exchange Group, said: 

“Approaching the end of the year, it is not uncommon for haulage and courier prices to increase. This is a trend we can expect in this busy period as demand for freight and delivery services increases. However, it is interesting to see that this trend seems to be more pronounced this year, with prices rising more drastically in December 2022 than last year.  

“In 2023, the industry will continue to face similar challenges, spearheaded by inflation. Without a concerted effort to address the driver shortage and replace the ageing workforce, we risk an overburdened industry and could face continued increases in haulage and courier prices, which could have far-reaching consequences for businesses and consumers alike.”  

With the UK cost-of-living crisis ongoing, many expect UK consumer spending to drop significantly in January, which, all else being equal, will in turn reduce haulage prices. 

Haulage Exchange will publish the next HX Price Index update in February 2023.