Wincanton cuts subbie rates as fuel prices fall

Wincanton is cutting its subcontractor rates in its general haulage business in response to falling fuel prices, has learned.

A letter sent to the business’s subcontractors explained that it had “no mechanism for cost recovery during times of lower fuel prices”, while its customers did. This, the letter said, means Wincanton has to pass costs to customers to reflect cheaper diesel, which it does not “receive in kind from its haulier partners”.

Stewart Franks, director of South Cave, Humberside-based Saftrans and long-standing Wincanton subcontractor, told CM: “I don’t think it’s fair, because it didn’t give us a rate increase when prices were much higher. We’ve been on the same rates for about eight years and four years ago fuel costs were sky high. It didn’t give us extra to help with costs then. I think this is nasty.” 

He added: “I think it is taking advantage of the situation because its customers have backed it into a corner.”

A Wincanton spokesman said: “Wincanton periodically reviews its rate cards to ensure they reflect the marketplace fairly.

Following the recent fall in fuel prices we have reviewed some rate cards in our general haulage business to ensure we are able to continue to offer the highest levels of service in a competitive market.

“We have been in contact with those partners affected by this change and are working with them to respond to any queries that they may have.”

The lower rates will take effect on 25 January, but Wincanton said it would commit to “reviewing the impact of fuel on the market every quarter”.