There has never been a more challenging time for the haulage industry. With a perfect storm of COVID-19, Brexit and the deepening climate emergency - it’s safe to say that the pressure on businesses is extraordinary.
Even before the current social/economic destabilisation, logistics costs have been steadily increasing. With decades of experience within the transport sector, TrackTrans have firsthand experience of the problems encountered by operators on a daily basis; we therefore understand how these issues have been exacerbated by recent events.
Since our inception in 2001, it has been our goal to reduce costs, increase efficiency and generally make life easier for hauliers – which is why we are pleased to see Chancellor Rishi Sunak directly reference the sector in his Autumn Budget and Spending Review. His announcement to Parliament featured several key policy changes that provided a degree of relief for those associated with UK logistics.
So, what exactly has changed for haulage firms? In this week’s blog, we’re exploring the various policy changes introduced by the Chancellor.
Enforced in 2014, the aim of the HGV road user levy was to ensure that hauliers are contributing to maintenance of the UK’s road network and create a level playing field for domestic operators. The time-based charge is applied to heavy goods vehicles (HGV) of 12 tonnes or more and can be as high as £1,000 a year – or £10 a day.
To ease pressure on businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, the levy was initially suspended from August 2020 until July 2022. However, last Wednesday, Rishi Sunak confirmed that the freeze will be extended until 2023.
More good news came for the industry when Mr Sunak announced that Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) rates for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) will remain frozen in 2022-23. The Chancellor added that it would be “irresponsible” to claim that the sector’s current problems could be remedied overnight.
While this is excellent news for the firms across the country, the deadline still looms – this is why it is important for hauliers to get in gear for challenging years ahead. A modern TMS allows you to tune every aspect of your business, giving you instant access to data that can help you lower freight spend and boost overall performance. Once you zap these unexpected costs, the road user levy suspension and VED rates will both be a mere drop in the ocean!
Fuel duty freeze
The Chancellor also shelved plans to roll out a 4.9 per cent hike in fuel duty, deciding instead to keep taxes frozen. This means that fuel duty will remain locked at 58p per litre for at least the next ten years, the longest freeze for more than 40 years.
At a time when transport businesses are being pressured to adopt new, often costly, eco-friendly alternatives – this is great news. With more finances available for vehicle purchases, companies will be able to make the switch to electric vehicles with greater ease.
Of course, the first step toward zero emissions is the adoption of transport technology. A good TMS enables you to visualise your work on a map, plan routes and bring all the right jobs together into a load quickly. This comprehensive collection of data allows transport managers to make educated decisions regarding risk, operating expenses and carbon impact.
Over £32M for roadside facilities
Lastly, drivers can breathe a sigh of a relief, as Rishi Sunak has pledged to set funds to improve lorry park facilities. By making conditions easier for truckers, the government hope to entice more drivers into an industry currently experiencing a devastating shortage.
In the meantime, it’s critical that logistics firms treat their drivers appropriately – this will help set a new standard and in-turn, bring fresh-faced talent into the sector. A TMS gives you an omniscient view of your employees, allowing you to strategically allocate specific jobs to drivers, monitor their progress and ensure that they’re taking adequate breaks. Prioritising turn runs also gives drivers the opportunity to return home more frequently, thus increasing job satisfaction and consequently, employee retention.
All sectors of the UK economy rely on logistics, so it is encouraging to see a slew of Budget initiatives that will aid haulage operations. Despite the optimism, complacency will prove to be the Achilles’ heel of many businesses – which is why firms need to ‘gear up’ for an array of challenges ahead.
Whether you are a dedicated logistics operator, a freight specialist or a manufacturer, retailer or distributer with your own fleet, a quality TMS can help steer your business in the right direction. Proven, modern and flexible; TrackTrans has become the solution of choice for many of the best-known brands in logistics.
Test drive TrackTrans and try our free demo today!