Road Freight Statistics 2017/18

On 11 October 2018, the Department for Transport published updated statistics for road freight activity between the period of April 2017 and March 2018 for the UK and internationally. Transport lawyer, Charlotte Hunt, takes a look at the recent findings and trends identified.

Domestic Road Freight

As a key point to note, generally the amount of HGV’s which are registered in Great Britain and operating within the UK decreased in the 12 month period ending March 2018. When compared to the previous 12 months, there was a:

  • 7% decrease in the amount of goods lifted to 1.37 billion tonnes;
  • 1% decrease in the amount of goods moved to 149 billion tonne kilometres; and
  • 2% decrease in the amount of vehicle kilometres travelled to 18.7 billion kilometres.

When the latest statistics for the amount of goods moved are compared to those from the same period ten years earlier, they are 5% lower.

When considering reasons for the downturn, many of us may recall from earlier this year the cold spell many parts of the country experienced with the adverse weather conditions during February and March 2018, however, analysis has suggested there was no apparent link between the weather and the decrease in domestic road freight activity.

International Road Freight

Similarly, in respect of international road freight activity for HGV’s registered in the UK transporting freight internationally also decreased from the previous 12 months. This includes a:

  • 2% decrease in the amount of goods lifted to 7.7 million tonnes; and
  • 1% decrease in the amount of goods moved to 5.1 billion tonne kilometres.

Foreign HGV cabotage (i.e. road freight that is moved within the UK by a vehicle which is registered in another country) accounted for 1% of total road freight activity within the UK.

Although there has been a decrease in domestic and international road freight, to place the statistics into context the Department for Transport highlighted that in actual fact there has been an increase of 1.4% in the number of UK HGV’s. There is of course also significant pressures currently facing the industry with continued customer pressure on price, a driver and skills shortage notwithstanding the uncertainty over Britain’s future trading relationship with Europe and the increase in the price of diesel which is up by 5.3p/litre compared to the last 12 months. Nonetheless, the industry continues to be resilient and drive forward and Woodfines specialist Transport Team continue to assist those within the sector.

The full report can be found here.

Of course, one of the biggest factors which will impact the 2018-2019 statistics will be Brexit and we wait with baited breath to see how the UK’s exit from the European Union will impact on the Transport Industry. Preparing your transport business for Brexit is a topic we will be discussing at our Autumn Transport Conference at Cranfield University on 29 November 2018 – please click here for more information.

To discuss any of the above, please contact a member of our Road Transport team