Haulier and courier rates dropped steeply in January, according to data from the TEG Road Transport Price Index.

The overall price per mile for haulage and courier vehicles dropped from 127 to 116.2, a decrease of 10.8 points, the TEG index revealed, marking the lowest overall prices since March 2023, and 2.5 points lower year-on-year.

Both haulage and courier prices dropped by similar amounts from December, falling 10.4 and 10.3 points respectively.

January’s haulage prices lie at 109.7 (down from 120.1) while courier prices fell to 122.5 (down from 132.8).

These latest figures follow the same trend as in previous years, with post-Christmas prices dropping by 11.8 points in 2023 and 13 points in 2022.

The report to the index said that with fuel prices dropping and peak season winding down, operators have reduced prices accordingly.

Prices are significantly lower than the same period last year, with petrol prices 12.87% lower and diesel prices down by 28.27%, compared to last January.

Fuel price rises fell for the third month running, with reduced wholesale prices keeping figures down into January.

Petrol prices lie at their lowest since October 2021, falling by 1.8% to 139.86p per litre (-2.57p change).

Meanwhile diesel prices are at their lowest since July 2023, dropping by 1.7% to 148.26p per litre (-2.61p change).

The report noted that this fall in prices will allow hauliers extra breathing room where profit margins are tight, enabling them to attract more business in the quieter months of the year, before prices are predicted to increase later on in 2024.

Overall the report predicts a challenging 2024 for operators, as the Houthi rebel attacks on shipping continue to threaten supply chains and as hauliers battle with the continuing driver shortage and the challenges of transitioning to low and zero-emission fleets.

The report warned: ”Pressures continue to mount on smaller hauliers as they struggle with the transition towards zero emissions, with significant expenditure required to modernise fleets.

However, it added: ”Despite this, advancements in technology should result in zero emissions vehicles becoming more affordable, as accessibility improves over the course of the next year.”