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HGV Haulage Statistics for the UK

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How Many Tonnes of Goods Do HGVs Move in the UK?

Crown Oil has been supplying haulage firms around the UK with road diesel, red diesel for refrigerated trucks and AdBlue for their fleets for over 70 years. So with our haulage customers in mind, we’ve taken a look into just how vital the sector is to the UK economy. Don’t freight… this isn’t meant to be a professor’s analysis!

HGV

UK activity of GB-registered heavy goods vehicles (HGVs)

Whether haulage trucks are delivering food, machinery or fuel, they regularly travel hundreds of miles in a single day to get goods to their end location, from products in our supermarkets to petrol in our tanks and electricity in our homes and cities.

Amount of goods lifted in the UK

Goods lifted tells us the weight of goods carried in tonnes. According to the Department for Transport, HGVs hauled around 1,440 million tonnes of goods around the UK in 2019.

Food products, including beverages and tobacco, were the largest category. While, coal, lignite, crude petroleum and natural gas were the smallest category, reflecting how the UK has reduced its dependence on coal.

Meanwhile, fuel refining in the UK has remained low; petroleum products are mostly imported from countries that refine crude oil already, which is how Crown Oil receives many of the fuels it supplies.

Which sectors transported the most goods in 2019?

Here’s a breakdown of which sectors transported the most goods in 2019. The table shows that food products were the most-hauled commodities in the UK during 2019, followed by groupage. The top five sectors are made up of waste products; mining products; and glass, cement and non-metallic mineral elements respectively.

Sectors Goods lifted (millions of tonnes) 
Food products, including beverages and tobacco 261
Groupage 230
Waste related products 183
Metal ore and other mining and quarrying 155
Glass, cement and other non-metallic mineral products 143
Agricultural products 92
Chemical products 49
Wood products 48
Household and office removals and other non-market goods 43
Mail and parcels 42
Coke and refined petroleum products 36
Machinery and equipment 32
Transport equipment 29
Metal products 28
Unidentifiable goods and other 27
Empty containers, pallets and other packaging 20
Furniture and other manufactured goods 11
Textiles and textiles products, leather and leather products 10
Coal and lignite 2
Grand Total 1441

How have transported goods changed over the last 10 years?

Here’s a look at how the haulage landscape has changed in the last decade.

Sectors Change over 10 years (%)
Household and office removals and other non-market goods 4200%
Mail and parcels 91%
Groupage 90%
Waste related products 40%
Glass, cement and other non-metallic mineral products 18%
Transport equipment 12%
Chemical products 7%
Food products, including beverages and tobacco 1%
Agricultural products -8%
Machinery and equipment -18%
Coke and refined petroleum products -32%
Wood products -32%
Textiles and textiles products, leather and leather products -33%
Metal ore and other mining and quarrying -34%
Metal products -36%
Empty containers, pallets and other packaging -44%
Furniture and other manufactured goods -58%
Coal and lignite -85%
Grand Total 6%

 

Astonishingly, non-market goods including household removals haulage have increased by 4200%. This surge can be attributed to road haulage moving costs becoming more competitive with van haulage, among other factors.

Meanwhile, mail and parcels have also seen a 91% increase.

With a worldwide shift to online shopping, haulage firms are consequently seeing increased journeys. Maybe the decline of the high street really is the birth of the motorway.

An additional trend is the number of goods sent through groupage, which refers to similar goods sharing one container and being hauled together. This system improves the efficiency of the industry so will no doubt continue to increase.

Haulage within by destination

We’ve also broken the data down by country of origin (England, Scotland, Wales and NI) as well as the destination.

 

Origin 2019 2014 Change over five years (%)
Northern Ireland 9 1 800%
West Midlands 161 130 24%
East 177 146 21%
South West 125 111 13%
East Midlands 166 148 12%
England 1,253 1,140 10%
United Kingdom 1,440 1,322 9%
Wales 64 59 8%
Great Britain 1,431 1,320 8%
South East 156 146 7%
London 87 82 6%
Yorkshire and The Humber 167 159 5%
North West 162 161 1%
Scotland 115 122 -6%
North East 53 57 -7%

 

East of England hauled the most goods by weight in 2019 with 177mt of goods delivered by HGV, while in 2014 the North West was the haulage centre with 161mt of goods. Overall, England hauled 10% more goods than five years previous and the United Kingdom increased by 9%. However, Northern Ireland saw the strongest increase in the weight of goods hauled, with a nine-fold increase of 800%.

Amount of goods moved within the UK

If we want a better idea of how hard HGVs work, then it’s worth looking at ‘goods moved’ – the weight of the goods, multiplied by the distance hauled.

Commodity Amount of goods moved (million tonne-km)
Food products, including beverages and tobacco 35,236
Groupage 25,280
Waste related products 12,546
Agricultural products 11,784
Glass, cement and other non-metallic mineral products 11,190
Metal ore and other mining and quarrying 10,983
Chemical products 6,729
Wood products 6,621
Mail and parcels 6,043
Machinery and equipment 4,184
Transport equipment 3,712
Metal products 3,599
Unidentifiable goods 3,579
Coke and refined petroleum products 3,418
Household, office removals and other non-market goods 2,981
Empty containers, pallets and other packaging 2,466
Furniture and other manufactured goods 1,688
Textiles and textiles products, leather and leather products 1,366
Coal and lignite 383
Other goods not elsewhere classified 4
Grand Total 153,792

Distances hauled by HGVs

So what distance do haulage trucks in the UK cover every year? Around 19.1 billion kilometres (11.9 billion miles).

It helps to look at the average length of haul to find out how far HGV drivers travel on average every trip, which comes to around 106km (65 miles). Assuming HGV drivers want to keep their LGV licence and keep to the speed limit on the motorway, this average journey would take a two-hour round trip.

As a UK-wide fuel and lubricants supplier, our tankers have driven roundtrips of over 1,000 kilometres (621 miles), with the longest distance of 1,060 kilometres (659 miles) between our Bury HQ and Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands. Thankfully, we have strategically-located depots around the country to minimise these long-distance journeys!

Our transport manager, Simon Fitton said: “Our drivers are experienced when it comes to long-distance journeys and take their safety seriously. Fuel is a requirement for all of the businesses and off-the-grid homes we supply and diesel remains the lifeblood of the world’s economy.

“With the drive to reduce our reliance on diesel, we’ve introduced hydrotreated vegetable oil to our product mix. We’re proud to be one of the largest suppliers of HVO fuel in the UK. Crown HVO is an advanced renewable fuel that is a huge stepping stone towards the 2050 net-zero carbon target with up to a 90% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.”

Here’s a breakdown of what products travel the furthest across the UK.

Commodity Average length of haul (km (miles))
Textile, leather and wood products 137.7 (85.6)
Food products, including beverages and tobacco 135.1 (83.9)
Machinery and equipment, consumer durables 133.5 (82.9)
Metal, mineral and chemical products 97.3 (60.5)
Other products 97.2 (60.4)
Products of agriculture, forestry, raw materials 93.1 (57.8)
Average across all sectors* 106.8 (66.4)

 

Contact Crown Oil today on 0330 123 1444 to help keep your fleet running with a reliable and cost-effective fuel and AdBlue supply service.

Source: Department of Transport 
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/rfs01-goods-lifted-and-distance-hauled#overall-trends-in-domestic-road-freight
*The average according to the Department of Transport’s numbers (included in the table) is different from what we would see if we only used the data in the table below. This comes from the DoT having a larger data set that will affect the final average, which is why we use their number.

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