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VAT Increase Impact: uShip Survey Indicates Over Half of Independent UK Couriers and Transporters Fear the Worst

LONDON – September 28, 2010 – With next year’s VAT increase looming, over half (52%) of independent UK couriers and transport operators believe the change will have a significant impact or threaten to put them out of business, according to a new opinion survey from uShip (, the world’s first and largest online transport marketplace. Earlier this month, uShip surveyed over 5,000 independent operators of commercial vehicles in the UK.
While many industries are speculating over January’s increase, the survey reveals a particularly negative outlook among haulage companies, the backbone of the UK’s consumer-based economy. More than half of the owner-operators surveyed say the VAT increase to 20% will hit the transport industry harder than others.
According to Shawn Bose, general manager of global business at uShip, “Only 5% of operators feel they will be more profitable over the coming year. This is reinforced by the majority feeling the VAT increase will create significant uncertainty or threaten to put them out of business entirely.”
Transport operators were also asked whether they would pass on the VAT increase to customers. About 40% responded they would pass on the tax increase in full, while 22% of transporters anticipated that they will not be able to pass it on and would have to absorb the cost.
Clearly, independent transport companies are unhappy with Parliament’s decision. 94% of transporters surveyed believe the UK government has underestimated or is completely ignorant of the consequences of the increase.
54% of independent transporters are now looking to online transport websites for new customers– this will likely increase next year. Regardless of the outcome, uShip will continue serving as a valuable resource for transporters seeking loads throughout the UK.
About uShip
uShip helps relieve the stress and high cost of moving hard-to-ship items, such as antiques, cars, furniture, pianos, boats, haulage, heavy equipment, pets and more. As the first and largest online transport marketplace, uShip connects people and businesses with feedback-rated transporters, who often fill extra space in their lorries, saving customers an average of 50 per cent. During its first five years, uShip attracted £100 million in business transactions, one million listings and 170,000 service providers. Launched in 2004, uShip operates globally with localised functionality in the United Kingdom, Germany, European Union, United States, Canada, and Australia.