Freight and cargo in the UK - Statistics & Facts

Heathrow was the main freight moving airport in the United Kingdom since 2007. It processed more than the other nine leading air freight handlers combined, at roughly 1.7 million metric tons.
In that same year, the UK recorded the largest volume of air cargo since 1950. Unsurprisingly, international flights accounted for the highest share of cargo moved. Airports in the country handled approximately 2.5 million metric tons of international air freight in 2017. The following year, West Atlantic uplifted a greater volume of freight cargo than British Airways.

The total rail freight movement in Great Britain amounted to 17.4 billion net tonne-kilometers in 2018/19. Of this, 6.8 billion net tonne-kilometers were domestic intermodal freight. Construction materials were the products most commonly moved, at 4.5 billion net tonne-kilometers transported that year.

Regarding road freight movement, figures for 2017 amounted to 156 billion tonne-kilometers, with 3.5 million heavy goods vehicles traveling to Europe from the UK. In the same year, freight volume transported to the EU15 by UK-registered vehicles amounted to 4 million tonnes and freight volume transported to Ireland amounted to 1.3 million tonnes.

In terms of maritime transportation, the Port of London received the greatest volume of inward sea freight. In 2018, 44.8 million tonnes of sea freight arrived at the capital city. In contrast, outward sea freight volume from the Firth of Forth port was the highest recorded for any port, at 22 million tonnes and mainly attributed to the surrounding fossil fuel industry.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 46 most important statistics relating to "Freight and cargo in the UK".

Freight and cargo in the United Kingdom

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Important key figures

The most important key figures provide you with a compact summary of the topic of "Freight and cargo in the UK" and take you straight to the corresponding statistics.

Rail freight volume

Road freight volume

Sea freight, by port

Sea freight, by commodity

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