Road freight between Britain and EU is down by a third, data shows

Road freight between Britain and the EU is down by more than a third year on year, data shows.

Figures from Transporeon, an EU logistics data platform, suggest that the volume of goods moving between Great Britain and the EU was 38% lower in the third week of 2021 compared with the same week in 2020.

The data also shows that hauliers are increasingly refusing to take loads to Britain as increased border controls caused by Brexit and coronavirus checks make those journeys less profitable. The rejection rate for loads destined for Great Britain from France was more than twice the average for the third quarter of 2020.

Transporeon’s CEO, Stephan Sieber, said “rejection rates are on the rise again and higher than normal and, on some lanes, every fifth contract load got rejected” last week.

Hauliers are also charging more to take goods from mainland Europe to Great Britain. The spot rate for haulage from France to Britain in the third week of 2021 was 51% higher than the average for Q3 last year.

Sieber said that while his company’s data was focused on hauliers travelling to the UK, “there is evidence that the opposite direction is also facing significant challenges. We observe very high rejection rates from Great Britain to Germany and France.

“This supports the anecdotal evidence of unprepared shippers, maxed-out bank guarantees for transit documents, and carriers preferring to go back to the continent empty.”

The UK’s Road Haulage Association said “between 40 to 50% of trucks going back to the EU through the Dover short straits crossing are carrying nothing but fresh air – normally that level would be 15 to 18%”.

The latest data on sea freight confirmed the picture painted by hauliers. Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that visits by cargo and tanker ships in the third week of January were also lower than the same time last year, by about 20%.

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