RHA survey shows steep rise in costs

It’s probably not news for anyone running a haulage business – 2023 was a tough old year. That’s what the Road Haulage Association’s (RHA) annual Cost Movement Survey has confirmed.

The UK economy continued to struggle. And that, of course, had a negative effect on freight volumes, which were down by 10-15%, according to the RHA members who responded to the survey. There was a record number of transport operator business failures too, and the number of operator licences fell by 1,300 year-on-year as a result.

The overall costs (excluding fuel) of operating a 44-tonne arctic and trailer rose by 9.21%. On the list of increased costs are insurance (up 7%); repairs & maintenance (up 9.5%) and tyres (up 7.3%). Still on the up (6.5%), but at a slower rate, is the cost of labour, with driver availability less of a concern for operators than other factors.

And what about the price of fuel? In view of the increases listed above, small comfort, but it actually decreased by 16%. It should be borne in mind that in 2022 fuel costs for a 44-tonne article and trailer had increased by an eye-watering £16,000+.

“Last year was tough for many operators,” says Chris Chidley, Driver Hire’s Chief Executive Officer. “This year will also be challenging, so cost control and flexibility will really matter. Driver Hire can help with this – for example showing customers the value of using temporary labour as a planned part of their overall workforce strategy. This can save money and ensure that they’re only paying for labour when they actually need it.”