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Just 16% of crossings to the Continent made by UK-registered vehicles

  • 25 November 2013
  • By Ashleigh Wight

Freight journeys to the Continent reached their highest level since 2009 in the third quarter, but the majority of these crossings remained foreign-registered trucks returning home, new data shows.

The Department for Transport’s latest ro-ro statistics reveal that trips made by foreign-registered trucks leaving the UK totalled 431,000 between July and September, while only 83,000 were made by British operators.

Despite making more than 1,000 extra journeys during the period compared with a year ago, It means UK-registered trucks accounted for just 16% of all journeys made to mainland Europe (2012: 18% in the period.

In comparison, foreign-registered vehicles heading home made 61,000 more journeys across the Channel compared to the same period last year.

Brian Yeardley Continental MD Kevin Hopper was unsurprised, although he confirmed he had seen an increase in his own company’s journeys.

“It’s difficult to get an increase in rates from customers and people have been frightened to go because of the road tolls, tunnel charges [in Italy] and ferry fares,” he told

He claimed ferry fares were often cheaper for operators on the Continent, who are able to book crossings through agencies “which is a lot cheaper than UK hauliers who have to book direct with the ferry companies”.

However, Hopper does not think the cancellation of the French Ecotax will encourage more British hauliers to take on more Continental work.

“There are a lot of things stacked against UK hauliers,” he said. “Wages in eastern European countries are much lower so they can send two drivers out and cover double the distance.”


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