DfT stats have revealed a 10% increase in the total number of goods vehicles travelling to the continent from the UK in the year to June 2014. But what does it mean for UK operators?

The stats show that 80,000 UK-registered trucks travelled to the continent between April and June, slightly up from 77,000 in Q1.

This follows a drop-off in traffic at the end of 2013, when the number of domestic-registered trucks leaving the UK fell to its lowest level (76,000 trucks) since the DfT began recording quarterly data in 2004.

In total, 2.8 million journeys were made from the UK to the continent in the year to June 2014, an increase of 252,000 on the 2012/13 figure.

But while this recovery shows positive signs of business growth for UK operators, the data also revealed a drop off in annual UK traffic. For the 12 months to June 2014, 15,000 fewer domestic goods vehicles crossed the channel than the 331,000 recorded the previous year.

Foreign-registered trucks, however, increased the number of journeys they made to 1.7 million from 1.5 million in the same period.

Many UK operators admitted to The Hub that they haven’t seen a pronounced increase in the number of journeys they are making, but are still positive about the amount of business they are receiving.

Sarah Rogers, director at EM Rogers Transport in Northampton, said the firm still sends around 60 to 65 trucks a week to the continent, but has had to diversify the type of work it offers in order to stay competitive.

She said: “We have to specialise more. We found that anyone can do general haulage or groupage, so that business has declined for us. Instead we are moving into more niche markets for our international work.”

“We haven’t particularly noticed that there are more foreign vehicles on the road,” she admitted, “but it does often seem like we’re the minority when going down to Dover.”

Diversifying is another option being explored by Hull-based Eurovision Logistics. It hasn’t increased the number of international trucks it operates but has been making use of multi-modal transport instead, particularly for Italian routes, MD Dominic Yeardley said.