The Importance of Road Haulage to UK Industry

2 July 2018 | Road & Transport

GB registered HGVs in the UK completed 18.7 billion kilometres shifting 1.45 billion tonnes of goods.

These government statistics underline the scale and importance of road haulage to UK industry.

Without HGV transportation, goods cannot reach their destinations and businesses cannot operate. Read on to learn more about the importance of road haulage to the UK economy and industries.

Supporting UK PLC

UK industry exports earn important revenue for UK PLC. Despite the high profile of financial services, manufacturing and commodities are still a major part of the UK economy. HGVs moved the 3.7 million tonnes exported in the year ending September 2017 on UK roads.

Export demand is increasing. Some might say this is despite Brexit, but the weak pound is helping manufacturing exports. Orders are up, and manufacturers need the haulage industry to deliver the goods.

At a time when there are doubts about the impact of Brexit on the UK economy, the opportunities have to be taken when they are there. Strong export growth needs transport infrastructure.

Feeding the UK

The freight haulage industry in the UK transports 98% of food and agricultural products. Without UK haulage and the infrastructure of roads, the UK food industry could not survive. Food industry raw materials have to be transported from ports and agricultural suppliers. Ports and rail links may play a part, but at the very least the last few miles have to be by road.

Without a national distribution system, shops would be empty. The UK population would not be fed. UK supermarkets depend on road transport to service regional distribution centres and stores.

The big four supermarket chains of Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrison’s have a total of nearly 6,000 stores. Each needs regular and frequent deliveries. Add to these the smaller chains and independent stores, and you have a complex and demanding logistical challenge.

Quality Jobs

The road haulage industry is the UK’s fifth largest employer. It employs 2.54 million people in quality jobs. There are opportunities for more employment in the sector too.

There is a skills shortage with between 45,000 and 60,000 vacancies for drivers. These employment opportunities are a huge positive for the UK employment market. This is important given concerns in some quarters about employment opportunities in the future.

More employment and earnings in the UK economy is good for UK industry. It provides consumers with incomes and the means to buy goods and services.

It is difficult to imagine an effective food production or retail industry without a road haulage industry supporting it. The exciting prospect of personalised drone-based delivery might have applications, but bulk distribution is not one of them.

The Future of Road Haulage

Given the contribution, road haulage makes to the UK economy and UK industry it deserves some support. Congestion costs the UK economy £31bn per year and poorly maintained roads result in £675m in vehicle repairs. Fuel duty is the highest in Europe.

Road haulage is important and worth supporting. Learn more about road haulage and its contribution to UK industry.


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