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Trucking Industry UK

Calls for Government to help hauliers struggling with fuel prices

The government has revealed its plans to tackle the HGV driver crisis by recruiting 5,000 lorry drivers from Europe.

Hauliers say they need Government help in dealing with fast-rising fuel prices because of the Ukrainian crisis.

And the Road Haulage Association (RHA) has now published an email template that hauliers can use to lobby their local MP to help them.

The RHA says that with record high diesel prices and cost pressures facing road transport businesses, hauliers need to contact their MPs urgently.

‘More likely action will be taken’

In a statement, the RHA said: “The more people who write to MPs, the more likely action will be taken.”

They also urge hauliers to add details of their own struggles with fuel prices – and what these mean to their business.

The move comes as Brent crude is heading to an all-time high price.

The RHA says: “We believe this could mean the cost of prices at the pump may potentially hit 175ppl – or even 178ppl within a fortnight, if not sooner, without a significant change in direction resulting from the current global news situation.”

RHA is now lobbying the government

The RHA says it is now lobbying the government for two things:

  • Action should be taken to back hauliers and keep consumer prices under control by introducing an essential user rebate of 15p per litre. This step would mirror an approach taken by many other European nations including Spain, France, Italy, Belgium, Hungary, Ireland and more.
  • The Treasury must delay the planned removal of rebates for red diesel on 1 April by 12 months. Introducing this change in a few weeks would be devastating for hauliers who have seen their wider operating costs increase by 17% for an HGV in the past year combined with the 18% increase in drivers’ wages.

‘Haulage business makes an annual profit of 3%’

The RHA’s executive director for policy and public affairs, Rod McKenzie, said: “Ours is a low margin industry – the average haulage business makes an annual profit of 3%. 

“Put another way, the weekly profit of a truck may be £80 but the increase in the price of fuel can equate to between £77 to £87 per week per truck, thereby completely wiping out any potential profit.”

He added: “Of course, hauliers can put up prices. That will add to the general escalating pressures on inflation for everyone. 

“That’s bad for our businesses, some of whose existence is now threatened, and indeed for all of us in the UK as prices rise.

“But the Government can, and we think should, do something about it.”

Fuel price rises are putting a strain on haulage companies

In Northern Ireland, Seamus Leheny, from Logistics UK, told a Stormont committee that fuel price rises are putting a strain on haulage and freight companies.

He told the Infrastructure Committee that while there was no fuel shortage at the pumps, there is evidence of panic buying because of the Ukraine crisis.

The committee heard that the price of a barrel of crude oil has leapt by 34% since the conflict began and the resulting high prices are putting a ‘strain on the haulage sector’.

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