To measure the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown on the transport and distribution industry, MT has put together a panel of operators across the UK to give regular feedback on their volume of work and vehicles laid up.

We will check in regularly with the panel as the lockdown eases to assess how the industry is fighting back as the UK economy recovers from the expected recession.


This sample of 10 operators operated a total of 8,078 trucks on March 23 and by May 4, six weeks into lockdown, 5,967 (74%) were still on the road.

Clipper Logistics

Mick Doe

Transport operations director

Clipper Logistics has 13 transport operations in the UK with a higher presence in and around the golden triangle and the South East of England.

Clipper Logistics is a specialist in retail fashion and high value goods working across the whole supply chain including pre-retail, e-comm, storage, store replenishment transport solutions and returns management, but also offers technical services for brown goods.

With all stores closing over the weekend of 21 March volumes went from the usual seasonal levels to zero with product stored at various points through the supply chain. The only activity we are completing for our current customer base is to recover product from stores back to the DCs to feed an uplift in ecommerce sales.

We have around 450 vehicles and 200 trailers and are still operating 75% of our vehicles.

Freightlink Europe Freight Train/Freight People

Lesley O’Brien


lesley obrien119

Freightlink Europe is a UK general haulage transport operator based in Bradford, West Yorkshire and

specialising in UK-wide collections and distribution. We predominantly serve the import and export


During the last week of March business was buoyant. Our mixed fleet of 24 vehicles (14 rigids and

10 artics) and 16 trailers was working to capacity. Indeed, we took on three additional box vehicles in order to meet customer demand and these were operating seven days per week. Operationally it was one of our best months of the year.

As the UK entered lockdown, businesses closed and supermarket replenished stocks, we saw volumes drop considerably. By 4 May, eight of our rigids and two of our articulated vehicles were standing, representing 40% of our fleet.

Roger Warnes Transport

Ian Barclay

Operations director

RWT is based in Norfolk and covers the whole mainland UK bulk agricultural and construction sectors.

In the six weeks from March 23 (the start of lockdown) to May 4 agricultural volumes dropped by an average of 20% and construction/aggregate dropped by an average of 90%.

On March 23, 87 trucks where in operation. Our business has significant seasonal aspects eg sugar beet from field to processor, and 20 March was the last day of the beet harvest haulage. So it’s normal that the ‘beet fleet’ is stood and refurbished or sold.

The in-operation fleet did not decrease in line with reduced volumes as there was a significant increase in empty miles mainly due to the closure of aggregate suppliers. In addition, flour millers where stocked out because they could not obtain supermarket-sized packaging and maltsters couldn’t accept bulk barley deliveries because the on trade licensed sector was locked down or operating an alternative service.

By May 4 we were still operating 84% of the fleet.


Ian Uttley


Stagefreight provides national coverage from depots in Leeds, Birmingham, Exeter and Marden for live events, theatre and music tours, conferences and exhibitions.

Worked dropped 100% as our industry came to a grinding halt on 23 March. I fear this will be the case for some time. Volumes have increased on general haulage by 25%.

On 23 March we were operating 33 trucks and 72 trailers, gearing up for a busy year with an order in for eight more trucks and 16 trailers. Luckily, we managed to cancel the orders for the new ones.

Whilst 25% of the fleet is working, the rest are on SORN in the yard, whilst the drivers are furloughed.

We are confident we will still be here to start again and for now we are concentrating on finding replacement work at a rate worth working for and looking for long term general haulage partners.

Caledonian Logistics

Derek Mitchell


Our four distribution depots in Scotland cover half of the geographical area of Scotland including offshore islands. We also have a distance division of 20 HGVs covering part and full loads all over the UK.

Our main business sector are pallet distribution and part and full loads of general goods and food products. We also offer storage services.

Between March 23 and May 4 pallet distribution was down 30%. Loads south are OK but the back loading from south to north did dry up. Storage was down about 10%.

At the start of lockdown we were operating 60 HGVs, 14 3.5-tonne curtainsiders and 85 trailers.

In the six weeks since, we have been operating 90% of the HGVs, 85% of the 3.5 tonners and about 80% of the trailers.

Turners Group

Paul Day


Paul Day Turners

Nationwide coverage with temperature controlled, containers, tankers and general haulage for transport and temperature controlled warehousing and packing services.

Between March 23 and May 4 temperature controlled supermarket distribution of chilled food and produce was up 6%, but frozen food distribution was 30% down, and deliveries to food service market was down 70%. Overall the sector was down 7%. Container movements were down 27%.

In tankers, road fuel deliveries were down 50%, aviation fuel was almost wiped out, cement and GGBS used for concrete manufacture were down 55%, food grade products such as sugar and flour were down 11% and milk was unchanged.

General haulage movements were down 16%. Temperature controlled warehousing was up 10%. Packing of fresh fruit products was up 6%.

On March 23, Turners (Soham) was operating 1,137 trucks, Goldstar 420, Macintyre 218, Jack Richards 330, R&R 38 and Dowse Haulage 50, a group total of 2,193.

By the May 4, the percentage still operating was Turners (Soham) 83.7%, Goldstar 71%, Macintyre 89%, Jack Richards 84%, R&R 76% and Dowse Haulage 96%, an overall group figure of 82%.

Cullimore Group

Moreton Cullimore


Cullimore covers all of the UK, but predominantly the Midlands and South West.

Our main business sectors are transport and general haulage, aggregate supply and ready mixed concrete.

Between March 23 and May 4 haulage volumes dropped 75%, aggregate by 95% and ready mixed concrete by 95%.

On March 23 we were running 60 trucks and 20 trailers.

By May 4 only 5% to 10% were still running.

XPO Logistics

Dan Myers

MD, transport – UK & Ireland

Dan Myers2

XPO covers the whole UK and our business sectors are automotive, construction, bulk powder, petrochem, gases, chemicals, pallet network, last mile (two-man B2C), technology, temperature controlled, ambient food and drink, ecommerce and retail.

The change in freight volumes between March 23 and May 4 ranged from increases in grocery which was above Christmas peak and others which have decreased by 65% to 70%.

On March 23 XPO operated around 5,000 trucks and 7,000 trailers, and 70% to 75% continue to operate.

AE Gough & Sons

Michael Gough


AE Gough operates nationally in the aggregate and agriculture (animal feed, wheat, barley etc) sectors.

Volumes in the aggregate sector started to reduce within a few days of March 23 and very soon quarries started shutting and reducing their hours until the volumes became almost non-existent.

The agricultural sector remained busy until Easter but as per norm dropped off straight after; the good weather didn't help that situation.

On March 23 we were running 37 trucks and 33 trailers.

By May 4 utilisation had fallen to 60%.

Arrow XL

Charlie Shiels


Arrow XL Two-person ‘home delivers’ large, bulky items to 100% of UK post codes and ROI.

Our volume increased from the start of the crisis to May 4 by over 30%. March is normally light volume period and it would have increased with the warmer weather regardless. A better indicator is a year-on-year increase of 17% to 20% in recent weeks, higher than we would have anticipated.

Sectors that have driven our volumes include home exercise equipment, white goods, brown goods and garden furniture.

Our fleet of 190 trucks is mostly 7.5 tonners and it has increased by 20% since March 23