Logistics UK, formerly the Freight Transport Association, has warned that UK hauliers will have little choice but to increase rates this year in the face of the pandemic, Brexit, the climate crisis, and other international pressures.
Fleet Point reports that at the launch of the organisation’s annual Logistics Report 2021, Elizabeth de Jong, Logistics UK’s policy director painted a dire picture of the challenges the logistics industry is facing as a result of these pressures.
“The logistics industry has proved invaluable to the UK economy throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, with businesses across all modes of freight transport taking quick action to adapt their operations to meet the needs of consumers,” she said.
However, she continued to say that a reduction in the supply of shipping containers and available ships to carry them has led to a significant increase in the cost of moving goods and services internationally.
By the end of 2020, shipping container rates have soared by 185 per cent year-on-year, and air freight costs increased when cargo space was constrained due to passenger flights being grounded during the pandemic.
“Fuel prices collapsed at the start of the pandemic but have now recovered to pre-Covid-19 levels. This reduction may have helped to offset inflation in the short term, but rates charged for all modes of transport are expected to rise in 2021, which could drive increased prices across the economy,” she added.
She said that many logistics firms are already operating on very tight profit margins, and price increases will make it more difficult to find the revenues needed to continue developing their operations.
The Logistics Report 2021 also shares insights into the UK’s competitiveness, international trade, connectivity, labour and skills, sustainability, and safety and innovation.
The full report is available to download from the Logistics UK website, www.logistics.org.uk
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