COST INDEX: Record highs at the pump blow out operating costs

By: Jason Whittaker


A new year has brought no budget relief for trucking operators, with record-high fuel prices blowing out operating costs in

A new year has brought no budget relief for trucking operators, with record-high fuel prices blowing out operating costs in the first quarter of 2008, ATN's exclusive cost index shows.

The ATN-PKF Truck Operating Cost Index spiked 1.66 percent higher over the three months to March, following on from a more than 2 percent hike in the last quarter of 2007.

The national average price of diesel was $1.49 during the quarter, the highest in the ten-year history of the index.

Non-fuel costs only rose 0.38 percent.

The index shows a 4.8 percent jump in costs over the previous 12 months.

The consumer price index on transportation saw an overall 1.9 percent jump during the March quarter, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The rise in transport costs put pressure on consumables, with the price of food blowing out by 2.1 percent.

Agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank says consumers are feeling the sting of steep increases in distribution costs to market.

Food and Agribusiness Research Senior Analyst Tim Hunt says the figures represent the continuation of a sustained run of broad-based and vigorous food price inflation, blaming fuel and distribution costs for the increases.

The ATN-PFK Truck Operating Cost Index — developed by Rick Copping of chartered accounting firm PKF and prepared by ATN — is available as a downloadable spreadsheet exclusively for ATN subscribers.

The index measures truck operating costs for a typical long and short haul operation, based on cost input figures from reliable sources including the Australian Bureau of Statistics, FuelTRAC and WorkCover authorities.

While the index can be an independent and credible source to justify setting rates, it should only be used as a guide.

For feedback or further information on the cost model please e-mail us.

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