UK commercial vehicle activity back to 85% of pre-Covid levels

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UK commercial vehicle activity is performing stronger during the UK’s second nationwide lockdown than the first, helped by increased efficiencies among fleets and heightened demand for the festive season.

Geotab and Webfleet Solutions’ latest Commercial Mobility Recovery Dashboard also reveals the UK is bearing up well compared to other countries in Europe

New data from telematics specialists Geotab and Webfleet Solutions shows activity during the second week of the latest lockdown (9 to 15 November) averaged 85% of pre-Covid-19 levels, compared to the second week of the first lockdown (30 March to 5 April) when activity plummeted to an average of 52%.

The firms’ latest Commercial Mobility Recovery Dashboard also reveals the UK is bearing up well compared to other countries in Europe; commercial vehicle activity in France is currently averaging 80%, Germany 102%, Italy 100% and Spain 87%.

The dashboard, based on aggregated and anonymised data from more than three million connected vehicles around the world, also explores the various UK industry sub-sectors and shows that business services have once again been hit hardest, down to 60% in the second lockdown. This, however, signals a 15% increase on the first lockdown when it stood at 45%.

UK freight activity – consisting of essential services and necessary goods, such as food, medicine and post – remains strong at 100% currently, which compares to 71% in the first lockdown.

Fleets within the construction industry have also coped well, averaging 92% during current, compared to 44% in the last lockdown.

The latest data comes as the sector braces for the busiest retail period of the year, with Black Friday sales and festive purchases set to heighten demand.

David Savage, regional manager, UK & Ireland of Geotab said: “The UK certainly faces tough challenges with another nationwide lockdown as we enter the busiest time of the year.

“These numbers, however, paint a positive picture of how fleets have learned to cope better with tighter measures over the last eight months.

“More than ever, fleet managers will be looking to squeeze efficiencies in their operations, reducing vehicle idle time and fuel consumption while improving productivity, routing and load sizes. A good understanding of fleet data will remain central to all operations’ best practice in this busy period.”

Webfleet Solutions also said the data shows how well fleets have adapted to the current challenges.

Beverley Wise, sales director UK & Ireland, continued: “The commercial transport sector is always under immense pressure at this time of year, as the sector grapples with a sharp uplift in online retail sales. With the tightening of the coronavirus restrictions, this pressure is even more acute.

“The latest data from our dashboard is encouraging and demonstrates how commercial fleets are successfully navigating this ongoing period of adversity and evolving their operations to suit the new landscape.

“Though we do not know what the future holds, it is clear that the fleets who adapt their processes and use data-driven insights to fully optimise workflow and drive efficiencies will be better equipped to not only deliver on surge demands, but to thrive in the post-pandemic era.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. Natalie edits all the Fleet World websites and newsletters, and loves to hear about any latest industry news - or gossip.