Haulage prices declined year-on-year by almost 10% in December 2022, contrasting sharply with courier prices which rose by over 8% during the same period, according to the latest TEG Road Transport Price Index.

The index charts the price-per-mile cost for UK haulage and courier vehicles each month.

In its latest report it found that haulage prices declined between December 2022 and December 2023 by 9.76%.

However between November and December 2022, the index found that haulage prices rose 4.4%, with the price-per-mile of haulage vehicles reaching the highest level of 2022 in December.

In addition the 13.1% drop in the haulage price-per-mile in January 2022 means prices are still lower than this time last year.

The index attributes the year-on-year fall in average price per mile haulage rates to the efforts made over the year to tackle the HGV driver shortage.

However the report warns that with a continuing shortage of around 50,000 drivers and the prospect of 45% of HGV drivers due to retire in the next decade, more needs to be done to tackle the problem.

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In contrast courier prices have reached the highest level recorded in the past four years with the price-per-mile of courier vehicles rising by 9.3% since December 2021 and by 23.7% since December 2020, according to the research.

The report states: “The unrelenting problem of rising costs and energy prices continues to put pressure on the UK economy, as well as the supply chain. The ripple effect of this is being seen in increased prices in the courier industry.”

The report also warns that although inflation appears to have peaked at 11%, according to the Bank of England inflation will not fall until the second half of 2023, leaving businesses facing the pressure of high costs for the foreseeable future.

Lyall Cresswell, chief executive of Transport Exchange Group (TEG), 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.”