Rising diesel costs hurting truckers

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With diesel fuel hovering around the $2.50 a litre mark in the north, business owners say it’s getting tougher to keep costs in line week to week.

The owners of Richard’s Moving and Cartage in Timmins move products where they need to go, but said when the cost of diesel fuel goes up, so does the financial stress.

"As the price increases, and at the rate at which it's increasing, your ability to cope and adjust your own internal pricing has really posed a huge problem," said owner Brad Richards.

He said you have to be innovative during these costly times from absorbing the extra fuel increases to making sure drivers take the best routes with the most loads.

But with diesel prices soaring, eventually he has to pass on the added costs to his customers.

"We try to hold the line on increases, but that's getting extremely difficult," he said.

A similar situation exists at local grocery stores in the area that rely on diesel-powered trucks to get food from the farm or factory to the shelf.

A small local grocer said he's been trying to work with small-batch suppliers to minimize the hit.

"Sometimes, they say, 'we'll give you a discount on the product because we still want to ship up.' So we’re working collectively to really keep the prices low. But what's hard on that is the minute the ingredient price goes up, then they really can't help us," said the Urban Market’s Steve Morin.

He said he's been fortunate not to have to hike prices on most of the items in his store.

And, the owner of Plant Based Marche, Sophie Castonguay, said part of the trick to managing shipping costs is larger orders.

"Some of it we pass on to the customers, but it's not as much as if someone were to order something online," said Castonguay.

She said ordering more can also run the risk of holding onto a product for too long.

The local businesses said they're holding steady for now, but industry analysts are quick to point out that if you're noticing higher prices on the grocery shelf or at the hardware store, increased fuel costs are part of the reason.