UK road freight activity falls by more than a quarter in a decade

Road freight activity in the UK has declined by 26% over the last 10 years, according to the latest government statistics.
 
DfT’s latest road freight statistics show goods lifted (the weight of goods carried, measured in tonnes) in the UK by GB-registered HGVs in the 12 months ending March 2018 fell by 7% to 1.37 billion tonnes compared with the previous 12 months. This is 26% lower than the same period a decade earlier.
 
Goods moved (the weight of goods carried, multiplied by the distance hauled, measured in tonne kilometres) by GB-registered HGVs in the 12 months ending March 2018 decreased by 1% to 149 billion tonne kilometres compared with the previous twelve months - 5% lower than the same period ten years earlier.
 
And despite the adverse weather conditions in February and March 2018, the DfT analysis suggests “there was no apparent link between weather and the decrease in domestic road freight activity”.
 
GB-registered HGV activity is a strong indicator of overall domestic road freight activity. Foreign HGV cabotage (road freight moved in the UK by a vehicle registered in another country) accounted for just 1% of total road freight activity within the UK for 2017.
 
International activity
International road freight activity also decreased in the 12-month period ending March 2018 for UK registered HGVs transporting freight internationally.
 
Goods lifted to/from the UK by UK-registered HGVs in the 12 months ending March 2018 decreased by 2% to 7.7 million tonnes compared with the previous 12 months. This is 32% lower than the same period a decade earlier.
 
Goods moved to/from the UK by UK-registered HGVs in the 12 months ending March 2018 decreased by 1% to 5.1 billion tonne kilometres compared with the previous 12 months - 38% lower than the same period 10 years earlier.
 
Over the same 12 month period, UK GDP rose by 1.5%; the value of sterling fell by 4.7% against the euro; UK HGV numbers rose by 1.4% while the price of diesel rose by 5.3ppl.