Nelson Sousa, administrator of JLS – Transportes Internacionais, from Viseu, told Lusa agency that, in the last two months, the company has been raising the prices of the services it provides, but that there is “clearly a drop in activity”.
“It's the only way. Due to taxation and the price of fuel is rising in a general way, not only in Portugal, but throughout Europe", explained the official, adding that it is noted, "in a very clear way, the fall in exports".
According to Nelson Sousa, with the increase in the price of fuel, energy and AdBlue (a liquid that reduces polluting emissions from diesel vehicles), transport companies can only “adjust production costs and sales tables”.
“The sector had already shown signs of weakness in the past, with very low returns, because we live in a very aggressive competitive context. When we are fragile, any situation puts us in a very complicated situation”, stressed the administrator of JLS, which has about 280 trucks.
The administration of Transportes Central Pombalense, from Pombal, also mentioned that, “with this increase in fuel, other costs followed this trend”.
“The production cost of the transport service (fuel, tires, maintenance, among others) increased a lot, crushing margins, which were already negative (in August and September). This climate of instability ends up having a financial impact on the company as well, which becomes unaffordable”, he lamented.
If, in 2020, fuel represented 25% of the company's cost structure (which has 322 vehicles), it currently represents 33%: "Since the beginning of this year, for our company, fuels have increased by 29%" .
According to the administration, "to mitigate these increases", the company relies "on the understanding and collaboration of customers to accept possible adjustments in the prices of services".
"Trying to minimize direct and indirect costs in the company as much as possible, without jeopardizing the proper functioning, complying with the standards that are recognized for us in the provision of transport services, responsiveness, quality and safety" is another measure taken, "ultimately, the reduction of the existing fleet" could be the answer, he added.
Artur Gaiola, from the transport company with the same name, based in Covilhã, has not yet increased prices for customers, despite the negative impact he is feeling.
“We're not raising prices yet, but if diesel doesn't go down, of course we'll have to change the pricing. The problem is that customers can leave and then we experience difficulties,” he said.
According to Artur Gaiola, his company - which works in the national sector, in conjunction with freight forwarders - currently has "less cargo, lower billing and increased costs".
“For two months, exports and imports have dropped a little,” said the person responsible for Artur Gaiola Transportes, which has ten heavy vehicles and 20 light vehicles.