truck at a port

Last week, MT’s sister site reported that the number of journeys made by UK-registered trucks to mainland Europe last year had fallen to its lowest level since 1989.

Meanwhile, trips across the channel made by foreign-registered trucks had reached their highest since 2007. As total cross-channel road freight traffic is at a high since pre-recession levels, The Hub was interested to find out where all of these vehicles are travelling to and from.

Statistics released last week by the European Union show that Rotterdam was the busiest port in terms of freight, with a huge 395.6 million tonnes of goods handled in 2012. To put this into context, this was over double the tonnage handled by the second busiest port, Antwerpen, which handled 164.5 million tonnes in the same year.

The UK’s only presence in the list of the top 10 busiest ports was Immingham, which handled 60.1 million tonnes of freight in 2012. Still, this was a 5% year-on-year increase in the amount of cargo handled, making it the seventh busiest freight port in Europe.

Despite an increase in tonnage passing through Immingham the EU's statistics showed a drop in the weight handled by the UK’s ports as a whole. Over 19 million tonnes of freight were lost in 2012 compared to the year before.

But in comparison to other European countries, the UK has the second largest share of freight volume, probably down to the  number of ports we have. Over 13% of the freight handled across the whole of Europe was handled here, compared to the 14.5% handled by the Netherlands, which takes the largest portion.

With the HGV Road User Levy due to come in next week (1 April) The Hub will be interested to see if the increased charge will effect the number of foreign-registered goods vehicle entering the UK, and whether it will have an effect on port tonnage.