Road transport rates have reached all-time highs across Europe during the third quarter of the year. The reason: an exponential increase in economic growth, bottlenecks in the global supply chain and a rise in fuel prices.
They are the main conclusions of the last analysis of the World Road Transport Organization, IRU, together with Ti and Upply.
Bad forecasts for the remainder of the year
In this perfect storm that has made raise the prices of road freight transport we find, on the one hand, the shortage of semiconductors, the lack of truckers, especially in the UK, and the sharp rise in fuel.
According to IRU data, diesel prices in Germany are 38.5% higher than in the third quarter of 2020, while the United Kingdom (+ 26.6%), Spain (+ 25.2%), France (+ 23.5%) and Italy (+ 20.6%) also posted notably higher prices.
The benchmark index for the European freight rate – the cost to pay for moving a load on a means of transport – by road for the third quarter of 2021 stood at 107.6; three points more than in the third quarter of 2020.
As a result, we find cost overruns on products, which can either be shared between clients and companies or be fully assumed by the end consumer.
In fact, the third quarter of 2021 is the fifth in a row of rate increases. Increases that allow operators to cover the increase in their operating and contracting costs. That is, maintain a profit margin, but everything has a limit.
The forecasts are not good, with freight rates expected to rise further in the fourth quarter of 2021, as demand increases and capacity remains in short supply.
Recall that global supply chains are even weaker due to the container crisis.
Another added problem is that the driver shortage is not limited to the UK. According to IRU data, in Spain it could reach 10.2% in 2021, compared to 7% in 2020.
The current shortage of truckers is estimated to be between 40,000 and 50,000 drivers in France and increases to 65,000 in Germany.