Rates rise but truckies still worse off

By: Jason Whittaker


A small increase in road freight rates has done little to arrest the alarming decline the last 20 years, according

A small increase in road freight rates has done little to arrest the alarming decline the last 20 years, according to a new report.

The Freight Rates in Australia report by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government (BITRE) shows rates fell 22 percent between 1980-81 and 2000-01.

And while a spike in fuel prices has led to a 9 percent increase in rates the last seven years, rates have not grown in line with the fuel increases.

"Recent increases in crude oil prices, and flow through to diesel fuel prices, have been an important contributing factor in recent freight rate increases for road, rail and coastal shipping," according to the report.

It found retail diesel prices jumped 38 percent the last five years, significantly higher than other road freight costs.

The report also shows operators were receiving better rates in 1964 compared to 2007, while increased running costs are "partially reversing" the cost benefits of running high productivity vehicles and efficient engines.

Rail freight rates grew 5 percent since 2001, ending a massive drop in rates which fell 39 percent between 1980-81 and 2000-01.

But the report says longer and more efficient locomotives are not offsetting the rise in transport costs.

Shipping rates have also increased, but average air freight rates fluctuated since 2000-01, initially increasing and then decreasing the last financial year.

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