Courier prices jump as springtime surge begins

The latest update from the CX Price Index 

Courier prices increased by 1.99% in April as the traditional springtime surge finally arrived. Average courier prices rose from an index of 120.7 at the end of March to 123.1 at the end of April.

A leading cause is likely an increase in courier demand, which the transport industry often sees when spring arrives. As the industry is still suffering a shortage of drivers, an increase in demand for couriers typically increases courier prices.

The UK’s 10.1% inflation rate, which is now higher than any other country in Western Europe, is probably also pushing prices north: relatively high levels of inflation increase courier costs which, in turn, typically increase the prices couriers charge.

The Bank of England is continuing to battle high inflation. The Bank recently increased its interest rates for the 12th month in a row. The higher interest rates are designed to encourage saving and discourage spending, which should cool the UK economy and help to bring inflation down.

Elsewhere in April, average UK fuel prices continued to fall. Petrol prices fell by 0.7%, while diesel prices dropped by 2.4%. The drops bring UK diesel prices closer to UK petrol prices, yet in the UK one litre of diesel still costs a full 17p more than one litre of petrol. This is unusual: excluding Sweden, the UK is the only country in the EU/UK area in which diesel is more expensive than petrol. Couriers reliant on diesel will be hoping the drop continues, which may increase courier margins.

Lyall Cresswell, CEO of CX parent brand Transport Exchange Group, said, “Falling diesel prices is very welcome news for the industry. It reduces a day-to-day expense for everyone, making every mile cheaper. 
“But it’s clear that there are more permanent problems affecting hauliers’ and couriers’ prices. One of those is the driver shortage, so it’s encouraging to see the government once again taking action to get new drivers on the road.  

“Another issue altogether is supply chain costs. Streamlining operations through digital solutions can help greatly here, so I’d encourage any road freight transport company to build digital tools into everyday processes. Then they’ll be more able to weather any costly supply chain disruptions.” 

The CX Price Index will continue to track changes in courier prices throughout May 2023 – and beyond.


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