Road freight on the rise


Australian freight vehicles moved an estimated 214,789 million tonne-kilometres (tkm) of freight across Australia’s road network in 2017-18, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Director of ABS Transport Statistics, Lauren Binns, said: “The 2017-18 figure represents a 5.0 per cent increase in tonne–kilometres (one tonne moved on road over one kilometre) since 2016.”

“Articulated trucks carried the bulk of Australian road freight, transporting 165,336 million tonne-kilometres, 77.0 per cent of the total road freight task. This is despite articulated trucks comprising less than 1.0 per cent of all vehicles on Australian roads.” Ms Binns said.

The majority of road freight transported crude materials (30 per cent) such as stone, sand and gravel, followed by manufactured goods (12 per cent) and food and live animals (11 per cent).

Freight vehicles registered in Victoria moved more freight than any other State or Territory with 55,450 million tkm. This was followed by Queensland (49,038 million tkm), New South Wales (48,709 million tkm) and Western Australia (35,953 million tkm).

Passenger vehicles continue to constitute the majority of registered vehicles comprising 75 per cent of vehicles across Australia. In 2017-18 passenger vehicles travelled a total of 179,761 million kilometres at an average of 12,600 kilometres per vehicle.

New information from the Survey of Motor Vehicle Use will help inform national freight and supply chain priorities aimed at improving the safety and efficiency of the Australian freight task.

More details are available in Survey of Motor Vehicle Use, Australia, 2018 (cat. no 9208.0).

Media notes

  • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Communications Section on 1300 175 070 (8.30am - 5pm Mon-Fri).
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  • Tonne-kilometres is a measure of freight carried over distance travelled. For this release it refers to the freight moved around Australia's road network.
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