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Van and HGV traffic back at pre-lockdown levels

Light commercial and heavy goods vehicle traffic has returned to pre-lockdown levels, providing some positive news when it comes to the economy.

Commercial vehicle traffic as of last week was 7% below its pre-lockdown rate for LCVs and 2% for HGVs

Commercial vehicle traffic is generally seen as a barometer for the overall economy and the new figures from the Department for Transport (DfT) show that weekday traffic for HGVs was down 39% at the end of March, its lowest point compared to pre-lockdown levels. However, it has climbed steadily since then and last week it was down just 2%.

Weekend HGV traffic levels have now recovered as well, and are currently marginally above pre-lockdown levels.

Although van traffic has also risen, it saw a sharper fall than HGV traffic during the early stages of the lockdown, with LCV data revealing a 61% drop at the end of March compared to pre-lockdown traffic levels. While LCV traffic is now climbing back to normal levels, it took much longer to recover than HGV traffic; as of last week it was 7% below its pre-lockdown rate.

The Department for Transport’s research was carried out from 1 March to 22 July and used the equivalent day on the first week of February as a benchmark for the data collection period.

Responding to the new data, Greg Wilson, founder insurance comparison site said: “The logistics industry is the lifeblood of the British economy, and vans and HGVs are critical components of the logistics sector, so it’s a really positive step towards economic recovery to have van and HGV traffic returning to pre-lockdown levels.

“However, although trucking companies and courier companies have played a vital role in keeping the economy moving, that doesn’t mean they haven’t been affected by the pandemic – the sharp fall in logistics traffic on Britain’s roads in April can attest to that.

“With a recession looming it’s more important than ever for logistics businesses to tighten their belts and shop around for the best deals.”


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Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.

Natalie edits all the Fleet World websites and newsletters, and loves to hear about any latest industry news.

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