New Department for Transport figures show continued improvements in the efficiency of HGV use, to meet the growing demand for delivery of goods across the UK.
The DfT’s road freight activity statistics for 2015 show that the amount goods transported on the UK’s roads increased by 12% last year to 152 billion tonne kilometres – but the distance travelled by lorries increased by only 9%, to 18.4 billion kilometres.
“HGV use was already incredibly efficient, as being able to fill vehicles as much as possible is key to making a profit or keeping costs low,” Christopher Snelling, Head of National & Regional Policy at the Freight Transport Association, said. “But as people and businesses across the UK have demanded more, the industry has continued to find increasingly efficient ways of meeting this need. HGV use has become almost a fifth more efficient just since 2004.”
The RHA’s Director Of Policy, Jack Semple, added: “This is a great performance by a big, diverse industry – and the reasons are dynamism and innovation.”
Innovation in equipment: for example, more high capacity trailers – both double-decked and longer units under the DfT’s trial of trailers up to 15.65 metres (compared with a standard maximum of 13.6 metres).
Innovation in operation: with greater collaboration among hauliers through pallet networks and other collaborations, and persuading customers to allow greater vehicle sharing.
Innovation in information technology: haulage is an IT-driven industry, not only for large firms but also smaller hauliers, allowing more efficient routing and scheduling.
“The road haulage and logistics industry is constantly innovating, although that is often overlooked. Large lorries are not only the most productive vehicles on our road, but the latest Euro VI trucks are also ultra-low emission, quiet, and have the most advanced safety systems on the road,” Jack Semple continued.
The DfT data also shows how vital road freight is for the UK supply chain – with three quarters of all UK goods movements being by road rather than by rail or water.
Christopher Snelling added: “We need to do more to maximise the use of rail and water freight as part of making the UK’s supply chain as efficient, clean and safe as possible. But they can never replace the need for road freight – that is why the best future will see us maximise the efficiency of road freight as well as the other modes.”