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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 Quotezone.co.uk 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 nearly 20 years of fleet journalism experience, 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.

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