Road freight transport is the backbone of trade and commerce on the European continent. Trucks carry 75% of freight transported over land, delivering 14 billion tonnes of goods per year.
Why are trucks so important?
- Most of our daily necessities, such as fresh food from the supermarket or corner shop, newspapers and magazines, electronics and appliances, clothing, and so on, depend on trucks at some point in the distribution chain.
- In modern economies, 85% of road freight tonnage is carried over distances of 150km or less – along routes for which no other form of transport would be realistic.
- Many essential public services are delivered by trucks, such as garbage collection, fire and construction services.
- Not only do trucks remain the most flexible, responsive and economic mode of transport for the vast majority of goods and freight, they are also essential to the functioning of the larger, integrated European transport system.
- Trucks function as part of a logistics chain whose components also include inland waterways, shipping, air and rail transport. Other transport modes depend on trucks to transfer freight to and from depots, rail terminals, airfields and ports.
- Today, there are some 6.5 million trucks in circulation throughout the EU – the average age of Europe’s trucks is 11.7 years.
- 472,499 trucks (over 5 tonnes) were exported worldwide in 2016, worth €5.3 billion. They are responsible for a trade surplus of €4.9 billion.
- Some 50% of heavy trucks built in the US now come from European-owned factories, based on European technology.
Explore our fact sheet on trucks for more interesting figures and to learn how trucks are exactly defined under the European classification system.