UK road transport prices inch up in April, latest TEG index shows

According to the report, the index reached 118.8 in April, up 1.1 points and almost 1% higher than the March figure. However, year-on-year growth remains modest at just 0.33%, suggesting that prices are broadly in line with April 2023. Transport prices followed a similar pattern, increasing by 1.1 points in April compared with March, according to TEG's report.

On a yearly basis, haulage prices increased slightly more, by 1.15%. The figures show a more mixed picture for couriers. The price index rose by 1.2 points month-on-month in April, but fell slightly by 0.2 points year-on-year.

The organisation says its analysts are watching this trend closely, particularly given the general decline in courier prices since July 2023. TEG suggests that companies investing in surplus vans, possibly due to stagnant light vehicle traffic according to DfT data, could be driving down courier prices. Industry experts point to the Easter holidays as a possible factor influencing these figures.

With an extra bank holiday in April compared to March, some deliveries may have been postponed, affecting prices for both hauliers and couriers. The analysis adds that the recent increase in the National Living Wage, which took effect on 1 April, could also have a long-term impact on the sector, although it has yet to have a significant effect on transport prices. This increase is particularly relevant for logistics staff, such as warehouse workers, whose pay has yet to keep pace with inflation.

Meanwhile, fuel prices continued their upward trend for the third month in a row, although diesel remains cheaper than a year ago. The biggest increase was for petrol, which rose by more than 3% at the pump. The report also highlights ongoing concerns about poor road conditions.

The RAC reports a 50% increase in pothole-related breakdowns in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the previous quarter, posing a significant risk to hauliers and couriers already operating on tight margins.

While the TEG Road Transport Index suggests a return to the upward trend seen in 2023, significant price increases haven't yet materialised.

However, rising fuel costs and mandated wage increases could potentially push transport prices higher in the future.