Haulage prices fall in February, continuing an ongoing trend

Haulage prices fell by 3.2 points in February 2023 according to the latest update from the HX Price Index. The index, which is based on average prices for haulage services on the Exchange, dropped from 110.4 at the end of January to 107.2 at the end of February. 

The trend is far from unusual: haulage prices typically fall every February as prices return to more temperate levels following Christmas spikes. Still, there are likely other factors contributing to the price decline. One of which is decreased UK farming output: following a sharp rise in energy prices, UK farmers are producing fewer goods. Fewer goods produced means fewer goods to transport, which reduces demand for hauliers.

The outlook is not all bleak. While energy prices remain high, a mild European winter has triggered the lowest prices of European natural gas in 18 months, which will in turn ease energy price pressures on UK farmers. Elsewhere, in February, diesel prices dropped by 1.73% and petrol prices fell by 1.02%, and Costco slashed 4p/litre off its at-the-pump diesel prices across all of its UK sites. Some commentators speculate other UK retailers will follow soon follow suit.

The arrival of long-awaited Windsor Framework brings with it yet more positive news. The framework makes it easier to transport goods between Britain and Northern Ireland. Even hauliers that don’t move goods between the two regions stand to benefit as the reduced costs and bureaucracy boost the UK’s economic prospects.

Lyall Cresswell, CEO of Transport Exchange Group, said: “A price drop in February is nothing new. We’ve seen exactly the same pattern in previous years, and we’d expect prices to rise gradually as we head into spring.

“However, this year is somewhat uncertain as the UK narrowly avoided a recession and inflation remains high. Businesses are still scaling back, encouraging haulage and courier companies to keep their prices down, even as they contend with high costs.

“But the future for freight is still looking promising. There are huge opportunities for development in new technology and sustainability – opportunities that the industry must grab.”

The HX Price Index will continue to track changes in haulage prices in March 2023 – and beyond.