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HGV Haulage Statistics for the UK

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 75 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!

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.

SectorsGoods lifted (millions of tonnes) 
Food products, including beverages and tobacco261
Waste related products183
Metal ore and other mining and quarrying155
Glass, cement and other non-metallic mineral products143
Agricultural products92
Chemical products49
Wood products48
Household and office removals and other non-market goods43
Mail and parcels42
Coke and refined petroleum products36
Machinery and equipment32
Transport equipment29
Metal products28
Unidentifiable goods and other27
Empty containers, pallets and other packaging20
Furniture and other manufactured goods11
Textiles and textiles products, leather and leather products10
Coal and lignite2
Grand Total1441

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.

SectorsChange over 10 years (%)
Household and office removals and other non-market goods4200%
Mail and parcels91%
Waste related products40%
Glass, cement and other non-metallic mineral products18%
Transport equipment12%
Chemical products7%
Food products, including beverages and tobacco1%
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 Total6%

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.

Origin20192014Change over five years (%)
Northern Ireland91800%
West Midlands16113024%
South West12511113%
East Midlands16614812%
United Kingdom1,4401,3229%
Great Britain1,4311,3208%
South East1561467%
Yorkshire and The Humber1671595%
North West1621611%
North East5357-7%

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.

CommodityAmount of goods moved (million tonne-km)
Food products, including beverages and tobacco35,236
Waste related products12,546
Agricultural products11,784
Glass, cement and other non-metallic mineral products11,190
Metal ore and other mining and quarrying10,983
Chemical products6,729
Wood products6,621
Mail and parcels6,043
Machinery and equipment4,184
Transport equipment3,712
Metal products3,599
Unidentifiable goods3,579
Coke and refined petroleum products3,418
Household, office removals and other non-market goods2,981
Empty containers, pallets and other packaging2,466
Furniture and other manufactured goods1,688
Textiles and textiles products, leather and leather products1,366
Coal and lignite383
Other goods not elsewhere classified4
Grand Total153,792

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.

CommodityAverage length of haul (km (miles))
Textile, leather and wood products137.7 (85.6)
Food products, including beverages and tobacco135.1 (83.9)
Machinery and equipment, consumer durables133.5 (82.9)
Metal, mineral and chemical products97.3 (60.5)
Other products97.2 (60.4)
Products of agriculture, forestry, raw materials93.1 (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
*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.

tonnes of net CO2 reduced across our transport fleet from using HVO

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