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 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!
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|
|Waste related products||183|
|Metal ore and other mining and quarrying||155|
|Glass, cement and other non-metallic mineral products||143|
|Household and office removals and other non-market goods||43|
|Mail and parcels||42|
|Coke and refined petroleum products||36|
|Machinery and equipment||32|
|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|
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%|
|Waste related products||40%|
|Glass, cement and other non-metallic mineral products||18%|
|Food products, including beverages and tobacco||1%|
|Machinery and equipment||-18%|
|Coke and refined petroleum products||-32%|
|Textiles and textiles products, leather and leather products||-33%|
|Metal ore and other mining and quarrying||-34%|
|Empty containers, pallets and other packaging||-44%|
|Furniture and other manufactured goods||-58%|
|Coal and lignite||-85%|
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 (%)|
|Yorkshire and The Humber||167||159||5%|
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|
|Waste related products||12,546|
|Glass, cement and other non-metallic mineral products||11,190|
|Metal ore and other mining and quarrying||10,983|
|Mail and parcels||6,043|
|Machinery and equipment||4,184|
|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|
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
*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.