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Data about imports and exports to and from Wales that were carried by road using UK registered heavy goods vehicles during 2020.

Main points

The Wales road freight statistics include information about imports and exports of goods to and from Wales that are carried by road using UK registered heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). Data is provided by the Department for Transport (DfT).

The data was affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which has had a considerable impact on society and economic activity since March 2020. Covid restrictions, to some extent, impacted on the activity of road goods vehicles.

A total of 83.0 million tonnes of goods were lifted in Wales by UK registered HGVs. This represents a 10.3% decrease compared to 2019. Of this amount:

  • goods carried by road within Wales decreased by 3.2% to 35.5 million tonnes compared with 2019
  • goods entering Wales from the rest of the UK decreased by 9.9% to 25.0 million tonnes
  • goods going from Wales to the rest of the UK fell by 20.1% to 22.4 million tonnes in 2020

Chart 1 shows how road freight has been distributed within Wales and the rest of UK over time. ‘Within Wales’ road freight is the dominant directions of flow of goods.

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Within Wales road freight are dominant however, since 2018 the share of that dominance has been declining. In 2020 total goods carried by road within Wales decreased by 3% compared with 2019. Goods entering Wales decreased by 10% and goods leaving Wales decreased by 20% in 2020.

UK destination

  • In 2020, 43% of road freight in Wales had travelled within Wales only. This is an increase of 3.1 percentage points compared to 2019.
  • HGVs carried 36 million tonnes of road freight within Wales, 25 million tonnes to Wales from the rest of the UK and 22 million tonnes from Wales to the rest of the UK.
  • Of goods transported from Wales to other parts of the UK, 27% went to the West Midlands, 18% to the South West of England and 22% to the North West of England. These regions accounted for a total of 67% of goods transported from Wales to the rest of the UK.
  • The same three regions accounted for 66% of goods transported into Wales from the rest of the UK. 18% came from the West Midlands, 24% from the North West of England and 23% from the South West of England.

European Union (EU) destination

  • 27% of Welsh tonnage carried by road from and to the EU was loaded/unloaded in Belgium, Luxembourg or Germany in 2020. The combined total of imports and exports of goods carried by road to and from these countries decreased by 45% in 2020.
  • For the EU, as a whole, the combined total of imports and exports of goods carried by road decreased by 16% in 2020 compared to 2019.

Commodity groups

Chart 2 shows the top 3 largest commodity groups (in terms of weight) that were carried by HGVs in Wales in year 2020. Metal ore and other mining and quarrying was highest at 13.5 million tonnes of weight. Compared to 2019, the weight of two of the top three commodity groups ‘Metal ore and other mining and quarrying’ and ‘Waste related products’ increased by 33% and 31% respectively in 2020. The ‘food products’ group experienced decreased total weight over the same period. 

For more details on commodity groups can be accessed from Department for Transport publication Road freight statistics: notes and definitions (pages 17-18).

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Metal ore and other mining and quarrying was highest at 13.5 million tonnes of weight.

Data

Datasets and interactive tools

Contact

Mel Brown

Telephone: 0300 061 6029

Media

Telephone: 0300 025 8099