International operators suffered due to weak rates during Christmas 2012 due to the recession across most of the Continent, according to an online international backloads service.

The latest Freightex European Road Freight Rate Index, based on the price paid per load  between November 2012 and January 2013, revealed that rates rose from a low of 113 points in November to a high of 117.8 on 1 January, compared to a high of 116 in the same period last year. Despite this, the rise was “much less dramatic than normal”.

Price increases were smaller in comparison to 2010-2011 and 2011-12 which Transport Intelligence, the firm that compiled the research, attributed to lower demand, loss of confidence and a rush to stock up closer to Christmas.

It also noted that hauliers in the UK are reducing their operations in certain routes as they cannot be sure of getting backloads.

Germany experienced stable growth, with operators reporting a steady demand from retail customers. Spain, on the other hand, experienced poor demand, with operators now willing to take on business across Europe, not just in and out of the country.

Transport Intelligence senior analyst Thomas Cullen said: “The picture painted by the Freightex European Road Freight Index over the past quarter is hardly a surprise. Demand in much of Europe is weak, notably France and Italy, with the situation particularly bad in Spain. Germany is stable if not growing rapidly.”