Road freight prices from France to Britain jump 50% in January - data

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Freight vehicles line up prior to boarding a train to France via the Channel Tunnel, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Folkestone

LONDON (Reuters) - Freight prices for moving goods by road from France to Britain rose by 50% in January compared with the same month a year ago after lorry drivers demanded higher payments to operate in the UK after Brexit, Transporeon data indicated.

Freight groups have told Reuters that European drivers are setting higher prices to bring goods into Britain in case they have to return with an empty truck because of problems with customs paperwork introduced on Jan. 1.

Transporeon, Europe's largest supply chain and logistics technology platform, said according to its data prices had edged down by 1.7% compared with Dec. 2020 when pre-Brexit stockpiling took place. But prices remain at more than two year highs.

The run up to Britain's departure from the European Union was met with warnings from industry and government that ports and motorways would be jammed with trucks if companies did not properly fill out customs declarations and export forms.

Instead, while the ports have run smoothly many small companies transporting fresh goods have warned that the additional cost and time taken to fill out the paperwork is making them uncompetitive. Many lorries are returning empty.

The Transporeon data, drawn from its network used by suppliers, retailers, shippers and more than 100,000 logistics service providers, also showed that drivers were rejecting jobs on France-to-Britain and Poland-to-Britain routes.

The government has said businesses have adapted well overall and it is working with those still struggling to trade.

(Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by William James)