Recession cut road freight by 13pc

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The amount of freight moved by truck in the UK fell to 132 billion tonne kilometres last year – 13 per cent lower than 2008, according statistics from the Department for Transport.

Its report, Road Freight Statistics 2009, said that goods lifted was down 18 per cent to 1.4bn tonnes reflecting the severity of the recession. Vehicle kilometres fell less – 11 per cent to 18.8bn vehicle km. The amount of freight moved in 2009 was also 12 per cent lower than 1999.

Between 2008 and 2009 the amount of freight moved by “public haulage” operators fell by 21 per cent but the amount of freight moved by own account operators rose by three per cent.

Some 38 per cent of freight moved is now carried by own account operators – the highest level since the early 1980s.

The DfT report also found that UK vehicles’ share of international road freight fell from 39 per cent in 1999 to 20 per cent last year.

At the end of 2009 there were 415 thousand goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes registered in Great Britain, of which seven per cent were first registered in 2009. This is the lowest number first registered since 1992.

The number of goods vehicle operators has fallen over the past ten years, from 111,000 in 1998/99 to 95,000 in 2008/09.

The average size of operators’ fleets has increased steadily from 3.6 vehicles in 1998/99 to 4.0 vehicles in 2003/04. This average size decreased last year from 3.9 to 3.8 vehicles.

Greenhouse gas emissions from road freight transport fell by nine per cent between 1998 and 2008.

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