Hard-pressed transport operators facing a third fuel tax hike in just 9 months are being urged to consider using online freight exchanges.
The latest 2p increase has pushed the average price of a litre of petrol to 105p, further squeezing transport companies who are already suffering considerable pressure as a result of the recession.
And they are set to take a further hit when VAT increases from 15% to 17.5% at the end of the year.
According to the Freight Transport Association (FTA), the freight transport sector has seen its fuel bills rise by £800million since last December. In the same period the industry has seen a 50% rise in insolvencies.
One way to combat this is for transport operators to work together using freight exchanges, says Lyall Cresswell, Managing Director of online freight exchange company The Transport Exchange Group.
Mr Cresswell said: "Ever-increasing fuel costs are crippling many transport operators, who are finding it increasingly difficult to survive.
"As the cost of fuel rises, more transport businesses hit the wall. But operators can improve their efficiency by using the collaborative approach which is facilitated by freight exchanges.
"The freight exchange concept harnesses the networking power of the internet to enable collaborative working. Those with more freight than they can carry post their load on the exchange. Those with spare capacity on a journey they are running register the availability of this space. The parties find each other on the exchange and arrange the transaction between themselves. Using TEG’s sophisticated platforms, the whole transaction, from order confirmation to payment, is managed online."
Using such exchanges, operators can virtually eradicate empty journeys and unprofitable backloads, and share the cost burden of rising fuel prices, congestion charging, tolls, and complying with onerous legislation.
In the current climate, The Transport Exchange Group’s services are increasingly sought after, with the company seeing double-digit increases in loads posted on their exchanges every month this year. Commercial Motor magazine said that freight exchanges such as those operated by TEG could be the key to operators beating the recession.
This increased efficiency through the Transport Exchange freight exchange model not only improves the bottom line. It helps businesses reduce their carbon footprint and make their distribution greener. With the environment becoming increasingly important to more and more customers, this can provide a competitive advantage.
The Transport Exchange Group, which celebrates a decade in business in 2010, has more than 200 subscribers who use the company’s secure, flexible, visible, real-time services every day to maximise the profitability of their supply chains.
As well as Courier Exchange, for the sameday courier and express freight industry, and Haulage Exchange, for loads of 7.5 tonnes and more, The Transport Exchange Group has a Regular Runs service, where operators can post their regular journeys enabling them to spot opportunities for collaboration within each other’s schedules.
In addition to the fundamental service offering, TEG has built a unique and sophisticated set of easy to use solutions to further increase the benefits of the exchange for members. These include providing electronic trading, from order confirmation to invoice approval and payment, an interactive map of loads and journeys available along a route, eliminating the need to scroll through lists, and a mobile solution which enables businesses to use the exchanges on the move.