trailer on motorway

RHA director of policy Jack Semple has called on haulage customers to take more responsibility for ensuring the rates they pay are commercially sustainable.

Responding to recent comments by Matthew Kibble Transport in sister publication Commercial Motor (20 September) about backhaul being offered rates as low as £1.10 a mile, Semple said: “We urge customers to pay a sustainable haulage rate - and £1.10 a mile is not a sustainable haulage rate.”

RHA members cannot see how it is possible to operate 44-tonne trucks for anything like £1.10 a mile legally and sustainably and suggest such rates are damaging to the industry, said Semple.

Ironically, it seems some of the lowest rates are being paid on goods being moved in the name of some of the largest firms, he said. “These very low haulage rates are coming, either directly or indirectly, from some very large companies - often some of the biggest companies in the economy.

"But road haulage is a service, not a commodity, and we would urge the customers to ensure hauliers are paid a sustainable rate.”

Although the industry is under intense pressure at the moment, hauliers also need to help themselves by insisting on the right rate, added Semple. “You've got to know what your costs are and be prepared to say ‘yes, but for a higher rate’ - or say ‘no’,” he advised.

MT will be looking at the issue in depth in a future News Extra. Please email chris.druce@roadtransport