The road haulage industry boosted its efficiency last year, according to new statistics from the DfT.

The department's Domestic Road Freight Statistics for 2015 reported a 12% increase in the goods carried by HGVs over the year compared to 2014, to 152 billion tonne kms.

However the miles travelled by HGVs for the same period grew by just 9% to 18.4 billion kms, the difference between the percentages suggesting the industry performed more efficiently year-on-year.

The RHA’s director of policy Jack Semple described it as “great performance by a big, diverse industry”.

He added that the industry had improved efficiency “despite our roads being the busiest and most congested that they have ever been.”

He added: “The roads are the industry’s main place of work and we need to see the roads authorities matching the industry’s improvements, if the UK economy is going to flourish."

The FTA’s head of national and regional policy, Christopher Snelling, said that the industry had had to adapt its efficiency to meet growing consumer needs.

He said: “HGV use was already incredibly efficient, as being able to fill vehicles as much as possible is key to making a profit or keeping costs low.

“But as people and businesses across the UK demand more, the industry has continued to find increasingly efficient ways of meeting this need. HGV use has become almost a fifth more efficient just since 2004.”

However the figures for international movement of goods fell in 2015, according to the DfT.

The department’s statistics report a 9% fall in goods exported by the UK, and a 4% fall in the volume of goods entering the country.

It shows that 98% of goods carried by UK HGVs were transported to the EU15, and that foreign-registered HGVs made up 1% of the road freight activity in the UK.