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Road Freight Transport

Road Freight Transport

Road freight tonnage increased by 10% in 2021

Online ISSN: 2009-5643
CSO statistical publication, , 11am
COVID-19 Release Information

This publication has been compiled during the COVID-19 crisis. The results contained in this publication reflect some of the impacts of the COVID-19 situation.

Main results

  • In 2021, a total of 154.9 million tonnes of goods was transported by road.
  • The commodity group 'Quarry products, metal ores & peat' represented nearly a third (29%) of all tonnes carried in 2021.
  • In 2021, the total distance covered by road freight transport was 1.7 billion kilometres.

Figure 6.1 shows that in 2021, a total of 154.9 million tonnes of goods was transported by road. This represents an increase of 10% on the 2020 total but a decrease of 3% when compared with 2019.

Figure 6.1: Tonnage of goods transported by road, 2018-2021

Goods vehicles involved in the 'Delivery of goods to road works or building sites' carried 57.9 million tonnes in 2021, which was the highest among all types of work carried out by goods vehicles. 

Figure 6.2: Quantity of goods carried by main type of work, 2021
Table 6.1 Quantity of goods carried ('000 tonnes) and share of road freight activity (tonne-km) by business of owner, 2011-2021
 Business of ownerTotal tonnes carried
 Transport companies Other companies
Year'000 tonnes carried% share (tonne-km) '000 tonnes carried% share (tonne-km)'000 tonnes carried
201154,83967% 55,42133%110,260
201258,33769% 49,74131%108,078
201360,89869% 47,93331%108,831
201465,24071% 47,26029%112,499
201566,97470% 51,08530%118,059
201686,97073% 54,70027%141,669
201784,55771% 62,67229%147,229
201882,66369% 67,37331%150,036
201989,34369% 70,07131%159,414
202076,36268% 64,63632%140,998
202187,73469% 67,16631%154,900
Source: CSO
Table 6.2 Transport activity classified by national/international journeys and main use of vehicle, 2021
Type of journeyTonne-km (million) Tonnes carried (thousand)
Own accountHire or rewardTotal Own accountHire or rewardTotal
National journeys3,3106,89710,207 60,38087,132147,513
International journeys       
Goods loaded in Ireland85771856 6412,5493,191
Goods unloaded in Ireland34596630 2321,7782,009
Cross trade5722727 121,4061,419
Cabotage65966 256513769
Total international1302,1482,278 1,1426,2467,388
Total journeys3,4409,04512,485 61,52293,379154,900
Source: CSO
Table 6.3: Road freight transport activity classified by group of goods, 2021

Additional data

More detailed statistics on Road Freight Survey can be found under “Data” and Road Freight Transport Survey publications.