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Published: 21 April 2021

Slightly fewer goods were transported by lorries in 2020 than in the previous year

Measured by tonnes, three per cent fewer goods were transported by lorries in domestic and international transport in 2020 than in the previous year. Transport performance, in turn, grew by three per cent. These data derive from the statistics on goods transport by road compiled by Statistics Finland.

Domestic transport

In 2020, lorries transported altogether 259 million tonnes of goods in domestic transport, which was three per cent lower than one year before. The total length of transport journeys driven was 1.8 billion kilometres, which was four per cent down on the previous year. The transport performance totalled close on 28 million tonne-kilometres, which was four 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

Professional or licensed transport accounted for 86 per cent of all tonnes of goods transported and for 96 per cent of the transport performance. The share of licensed transport increased slightly for both performances compared to 2019.

Transport performance of full trailer combinations has grown clearly

Examined by type of lorry, the volume of goods transported by lorries without trailer was 11 per cent lower and by semi-trailer combinations six per cent lower in 2020 than in the previous year. The transport performance for lorries without trailer decreased by 21 per cent and for semi-trailer combinations by two per cent compared with the previous year. In turn, the volume of goods transported by full trailer combinations grew by two per cent and their transport performance by nine per cent compared to 2019.

The use of full trailer combinations in goods transport grew between 2014 and 2016. The growth turned slightly downward in 2017 to 2019 until it grew again in 2020. Fifty-nine per cent of goods and 78 per cent of tonne-kilometres were transported with full trailer combinations in 2020, while the corresponding shares were 57 per cent for tonnes and 74 per cent for tonne-kilometres in 2019.

The relative share of lorries without trailer in goods transport has decreased considerably in the 2010s. However, the share of the volume of transported goods grew by two percentage points in 2018. In 2019, the share fell by two percentage points back to the level of 2017 and in 2020, the share continued to fall by two percentage points. The use of semi-trailer combinations relative to other types of vehicles has remained more or less the same since 2011.

Over one quarter of the annual volume of goods were transported by combinations with a total weight of over 68 tonnes

In 2020, lorries with a total weight of over 68 tonnes transported 70 million tonnes of goods, which was 27 per cent of the total volume of goods transported. The share has increased steadily as a result of the decree on the use of vehicles that entered into force at the end of 2013 regarding the mass and measurements of vehicle combinations.

When lorries are grouped according to the highest permitted total weight into lorries weighing at most 54, over 54 to 60, over 60 to 68 and over 68 tonnes, the groups’ shares of the transported volume of goods were 42, 11, 20 and 27 per cent and of the transport performance 24, 14, 27 and 36 per cent in 2020. The shares of the total weight categories of the transport performance in 2011 to 2020 are presented in the figure below.

The development of the transport performance by total weight categories in 2011 to 2020

The development of the transport performance by total weight categories in 2011 to 2020

Examined by types of goods, gravel and other soil materials were transported by road most in 2020, in total almost 90 million tonnes, which was good one-third of all tonnes. Most tonne-kilometres were accumulated from mixed transport of different types of goods, 3.5 billion, which was 13 per cent of all tonne-kilometres.

The average transport journey was 80 kilometres in 2020, which was one kilometre more than one year earlier. The average transport journey was 25 kilometres for soil materials and 119 kilometres for saw timber and pulpwood. The average length of empty journeys was 48 kilometres, which was slightly longer than in the years before.

International transport

In 2020, lorries transported altogether 2.9 million tonnes of goods in international transport, which was over one third lower than one year before. The transport performance in international transport totalled 1.8 billion tonne-kilometres, which was 14 per cent less than in the previous year.

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 2020, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Jukka Tuominen 029 551 3635, liikenne.matkailu@stat.fi

Head of Department in charge: Hannele Orjala

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Updated 21.4.2021

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Goods transport by road [e-publication].
ISSN=2342-3617. 2020. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 20.7.2024].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/kttav/2020/kttav_2020_2021-04-21_tie_001_en.html