HGV registrations fell by 2.3% to 9,837 units in the first three months of the year, reflecting the continued global shortage of semiconductors and other raw materials.

The SMMT’s figures showed that registrations for Q1 were down 227 on the same period in 2021 and that the sector was still some distance from a full post-pandemic recovery.

The organisation said demand for HGVs, particularly from within construction, remained robust but that a dearth of materials including steel and aluminium was restricting deliveries to fleet operators.

Rigid registrations fell by 10.1% to 4,975 and accounted for just over half of the market, while artics increased by 7.4% to 4,862 units.

There was increased demand for tractors, the largest segment by volume, up 8.3% and comprising 49.1% of the market.

But there were declines elsewhere, with box vans (-13.7%), tippers (-16%), curtainsided trucks (-12.4%) and refuse disposal vehicles (-31.3%) all down.

The SMMT added that around four in every five new trucks were registered in England, which saw a reduction of 2.8%, while registrations in Scotland fell by 14%.

Northern Ireland and Wales registered 40.8% and 8.7% more HGVs than Q1 2021, although they made up a combined total of only 6.3% of UK registrations.

Mike Hawes, SMMT CE, said, “Despite the myriad challenges facing the heavy goods vehicle sector, manufacturers have remained resilient, striving to fulfil order books as quickly as possible amid robust demand for the latest technology trucks.

“Despite the market’s post-pandemic recovery continuing to be frustrated by supply chain shortages and disruptions, HGV operators considering their next fleet investments are encouraged to move early to secure the new vehicles that will meet their business needs.

“The sector continues to play a crucial role in the UK economy and faces the same decarbonisation challenges as the rest of road transport.”

Hawes added: “The government’s newly announced zero emission HGV demonstrator programme will provide useful guidance to help operators plan their longer term fleet strategy.”