Transport Series Statistical Bulletin Trn/2008/3 Main Transport Trends 2008

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6 Freight

Freight lifted - tonnes

6.1 Freight lifted by road in Scotland in 2006 was 172 million tonnes. The figures for 2004-05 onwards should not be compared with the statistics for earlier years because there is a break in the series following changes to DfT's survey methodology and processing. Prior to that, there had been little change from year to year in the ten years up to 2003. Over the longer-term, the amount of freight carried by road fluctuated between 1975 and 1987 (see Figure 10), rising to 172 million tonnes in 1976 and falling to 128 million tonnes in 1986. After 1988, it was more stable, varying between 149 million tonnes (in 1991) and 162 million tonnes (in 1996). The total of 153 million tonnes in 2003 was the third lowest in the period since 1988. Figures 10 and 11 show that, in terms of tonnes lifted, much more freight is carried by road than by any other mode of transport. Per head of population, the amount of freight which is lifted by road is slightly higher in Scotland than in Great Britain.

6.2 The volume of rail freight traffic lifted in Scotland fell from 29.8 million tonnes in 1960 to 5.4 million tonnes in 1994-95. Figure 11 shows that since then it has increased in most years, and stood at 13 million tonnes in 2006-07.

6.3 Coastwise freight traffic lifted in Scotland rose from 24 million tonnes in 1987 to 40 million tonnes in 1998. Since then, the total has fallen to 20 million tonnes in 2003. However, the figures from 2000 are on a different basis from those for earlier years (see Chapter 10 of Scottish Transport Statistics). The annual amount of freight lifted for inland waterways has remained between about 9 and 12 million tonnes since 1982. Figure 11 shows the trends since 1980 (inland waterway) and 1987 (coastwise traffic). Per head of population, much more freight is lifted by coastwise shipping in Scotland than in Great Britain.

6.4 The amount of oil carried in Scottish pipelines rose rapidly to 23 million tonnes in 1977, and has fluctuated since then between 21 million tonnes and 30 million tonnes per year. Figure 11 shows the trends since 1975. Per head of population, the amount of freight which is lifted by pipeline is significantly greater in Scotland than in Great Britain.

Freight moved - tonne-kilometres

6.5 Figures 10 and 11 showed that, in terms of tonnes lifted, much more freight is carried by road than by any other mode of transport. However, a different picture can be seen when account is taken of the distance that freight is carried. Table H2(b) shows that, in terms of tonne-kilometres, coastwise shipping accounted for the largest amount of freight moved in most years, with road coming second (in 2004 the position was reversed). Rail and pipeline still move smaller amounts of freight than road. However, they represent a higher proportion of the total for road freight when they are measured in tonne-kilometres, because of the greater distance (on average) for which freight is carried by rail and by pipeline.