With a hike in fuel prices occurring across Europe, ESTA – the European association of abnormal road transport and mobile cranes – is advising its members to use transport contracts that include valid fuel clauses that can be revised on a weekly basis.

HLPFI reported in April that the war in Ukraine and the subsequent restriction of oil supplies from Russia into Europe led to further upward pressure on prices. The EU-wide weighted average of a litre of diesel rose sharply since the third quarter of 2021. Compared with the pandemic-induced low during the second quarter of 2020, the weighted average cost of diesel was 52.7 percent higher in the first quarter of 2022.  

That report had yet to register the full effects of the fuel price increase, as the price spike did not occur until after the war started in Ukraine on February 24, and carriers were able to make use of fuel purchased in advance at lower prices through the end of February and early March.

With a barrel of Brent crude trading at USD116 at the start of June, diesel and petrol prices have since continued to trend upwards.

Ton Klijn, ESTA’s director, said the association has discussed the impact of the present geopolitical situation on fuel prices and the uncertainty this is causing. He added: “It is obvious that we should all use transport contracts that contain a valid fuel clause. Fuel prices should be referenced at the time of contract closure and then adapted against the fuel price index.

“Previously this was usually done on a monthly basis, but ESTA is now advising members and companies to do so on a weekly basis. Failure to do this is extremely risky in current circumstances.”

Various websites publish fuel prices and give guidance on adjustment factors, and the European Commission website also contains details of fuel prices in all member states here