Published: 26 April 2018

Slightly more goods were transported by lorries in 2017 than in the previous year, total weights of vehicle combinations growing

Measured by tonnes, one per cent more goods were transported by lorries in domestic and international transport in 2017 than in the previous year. Tonne-kilometres increased by sevenper cent. These data derive from the statistics on goods transport by road compiled by Statistics Finland.

Domestic transport

In 2017, lorries transported 278 million tonnes of goods in domestic transport, which was one per cent more than one year before. The total length of transport journeys driven was 2.0 billion kilometres, which was four per cent more than in the year before. The total number of tonne-kilometres was 26 billion, which was seven per cent more than in the year before. Tonne-kilometre describes the volume of transport and is obtained as a product of the transported volume of goods given in tonnes and the length of the transport journey in kilometres.

Annual volume of goods transported by lorries in domestic transport

Annual volume of goods transported by lorries in domestic transport

As in 2016, professional or licensed transport accounted for 85 per cent of all tonnes of goods transported. The share of licensed transport was 94 per cent of all tonne-kilometres, which was one percentage point more than in the year before.

Examined by type of lorry, the volume of goods transported by lorries without trailer was eight per cent lower and by semi-trailer combinations nine per cent lower in 2017 than in 2016. In turn, the volume of goods transported by full trailer combinations fell by three per cent from the year before. The transport performance grew in 2017 for both lorries without trailer and full trailer combinations by six per cent and for semi-trailer combinations by 16 per cent compared with the previous year.

The use of full trailer combinations in goods transport has been growing steadily in recent years. In 2017, the growth stabilised and the volume of goods even fell slightly. Sixty-two per cent of goods and 78 per of tonne-kilometres were transported with full trailer combinations in 2016, while the corresponding share was 60 per cent of tonnes and 77 per cent of tonne-kilometres in 2017. The relative share of lorries without trailer measured in tonnes has, in turn, been falling, but in 2017, the share of the volume of goods grew from the previous year by two percentage points to 28 per cent and the share of tonne-kilometres remained at eight per cent. The use of semi-trailer combinations relative to other types of vehicles has remained more or less the same since 2011.

Most goods were transported with full trailer combinations where the lorry used as the truck tractor has four axles and the actual trailer attached to the drawbar coupling of the lorry has five axles. In 2017 measured in tonnes, 40 million tonnes of goods were transported by such full trailer combinations and their transport performance was 5.5 billion tonne-kilometres. However, the transport performance was biggest for combinations of a three-axle truck tractor and a five-axle actual trailer, 6.9 billion tonne-kilometres. The commonest combination for semi-trailer combinations was a three-axle truck tractor with a three-axle semi-trailer attached to the fifth wheel coupling. Measured in tonnes, 20 million tonnes of goods were transported by such combinations and their transport performance was 2.4 billion tonne-kilometres in 2017.

In 2017, lorries with a total weight of over 53 tonnes transported 165 million tonnes of goods, which was 60 per cent of the total volume of goods transported. The share fell by two percentage points from the year before. The transport performance of lorries with a total weight of over 53 tonnes was 20.1 billion tonne-kilometres in 2017, which was 76 per cent of total transport performance. The share was one percentage point lower than in 2016.

When lorries are classified measured by the total weight category into lorries weighing at most 53, over 53 to 60, over 60 to 68, and at least 68 tonnes, the relative share of the transport performance was still in 2015 around one-quarter for lorries in each group, that is 27, 25, 25 and 23 per cent, respectively. In 2017, the corresponding figures were 24, 14, 19 and 43 per cent, so the growth in the total weight of vehicle combinations has been quite considerable in the last few years.

Measured by tonnes, 68 per cent of all goods were transported on journeys of at most 100 kilometres in 2017. The share went down by two percentage points from the year before. When the lengths of journeys are grouped into categories: 1 to 100, 101 to 200, 201 to 400, and over 400 kilometres, the relative share of the transport performance in 2017 for lorries in each group was 20, 20, 28 and 31 per cent, respectively. The share of journeys of under 200 kilometres in the transport performance fell and that of journeys of over 200 kilometres correspondingly rose by a few percentage points.

Examined by types of goods, most gravel and other soil materials were transported by road in 2017, that is, 98 million tonnes, which was good one-third of all tonnes. Most transport performance was generated from transport of saw timber and pulpwood, 3.1 billion tonne-kilometres or 12 per cent of all tonne-kilometres. Measured in kilometres, empty lorries were transported most, 21 per cent of all kilometres.

The average transport journey was 75 kilometres in 2017, which was two kilometres more than one year earlier. The average transport journey was 19 kilometres for soil materials and 121 kilometres for saw timber and pulpwood. The average length of empty journeys was 44 kilometres, which was on the same level as one year earlier.

International transport

In 2017, lorries transported 2.9 million tonnes of goods in international transport, which was about one third less than one year before. The transport performance totalled 1.7 billion tonne-kilometres, which was 27 per cent less than in the year before.

It should be noted that the statistics on goods transport by road always monitor the transport performance of a truck tractor selected to the survey during the survey period. The truck tractor selected to the sample may have several different trailers during the survey period. Therefore, if trailers are hauled to a harbour from which they continue in sea transport without the truck tractor, the monitoring of the transport ends there.


Source: Goods Transport by Road 2017, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Jukka Tuominen 029 551 3621, liikenne.matkailu@stat.fi

Director in charge: Sami Saarikivi

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Updated 26.4.2017

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Goods transport by road [e-publication].
ISSN=2342-3617. 2017. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 18.8.2019].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/kttav/2017/kttav_2017_2018-04-26_tie_001_en.html