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Activity in the UK’s haulage sector is back to 84% of pre-Covid-19 levels but is still lagging behind its EU peers, according to research by Geotab and Webfleet Solutions.

Data from Geotab and Webfleet’s commercial mobility recovery dashboard, shows that while the UK’s transport sector activity has recovered to 84% of its pre-Covid-19 baseline, three months since lockdown was first imposed, it is lagging behind other European countries, with France at 97%, Germany at 99%, Italy at 98%, Netherlands at 92%, Poland at 92% and Spain at 84%.

The Dashboard monitors commercial fleet activity recovery on a country-by-country basis, as well by three sub-sectors; business services, construction and freight.

The data shows, three months since each country’s lockdown, how recovery is progressing.

In the first and second week of each country’s lockdown, the analysis found that in the UK activity fell to an average of 63% between 23 March and 29 March, and an average of 52% between 30 March and 05 April.

In comparison, activity in France fell to 42% in the first two weeks of lockdown whilst Spain saw activity fall to around 56% in the period.

In Italy the average was between 76% in the first week and 61% in the second week of the country’s lockdown.

Since its second week of lockdown, from 30 March, the UK transport activity has recovered on average at only 2.6% per week. This compares to 4.8% in France, 2.4% in Spain and 2.7% in Italy.

The week following “Super Saturday” (6 July) – when the UK hospitality industry re-opened to the public – saw a total recovery rate of 5%, with UK recovery climbing from 79% the week prior to 84% on 10 July.

The data also revealed that performance of sectors within the UK transport industry varied significantly. Non-essential services such as office supply deliveries and other business services activity in the UK has been the slowest to recover, running at an average of 71% as of 10 July.

In comparison UK freight activity – consisting of essential services, necessary goods, such as food, medicine and post – has remained relatively high throughout the lockdown, now at 94% as of July 10, with an average weekly recovery rate of 1.9%.

Fleets within the construction industry have seen the largest recovery over the last 13 weeks, with activity in the second week of lockdown dropping 66% on average. Now at 88% of its baseline, its weekly recovery rate has averaged at 3.8%.

David Savage, Geotab UK and Ireland regional manager said: “As the lifeblood to our economies, commercial fleet activity can act as a strong economic barometer, used to help inform policy, management and forecasting at both macro and local levels.

“As vehicles become more connected and telematics technology more widely adopted, we will see it not only help shape these decisions but also drive huge cost efficiencies and breakthrough innovations in how our society functions.”

Beverley Wise, Webfleet sales director UK & Ireland added: “Now more than ever, it is crucial that we make the most out of the anonymised and aggregated data available to us in analysing the impacts on our businesses and our economy.

“This joint initiative enables us to provide deep data-driven insights that will also help support our customers to get their businesses back on the road as they plan their route to recovery.”