UK commercial vehicle activity is stronger during the current coronavirus lockdown measures than it was during the first lockdown earlier this year, according to telematics firms Webfleet Solutions and Geotab.

Data from their Commercial Mobility Recovery Dashboard – a joint effort to monitor commercial fleet activity – shows that in the second week of the current English lockdown, between 9 November and 15 November, CV activity was at 85% of pre-pandemic levels, compared with just 52% at the equivalent point of the first UK lockdown, between 30 March and 5 April.

That represents a 33% increase, although it should be noted that whereas in March and April lockdown measures applied to the whole of the UK, there are now variations in the measures in place for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Sector-by-sector figures shows that business services activity is currently running at 60%, compared to 45% in the earlier lockdown, while freight activity, which includes essentials such as food and medicine, is right up at 100%, compared with 71% earlier in the year.

The construction industry has also seen a big improvement, at 92% currently, compared with 44% in the first lockdown.

Overall, CV activity in the UK is currently ahead of that seen in France, where it is at 80%, but behind the levels seen in Spain (87%), Italy (100%), and Germany (102%).

Webfleet Solutions sales director for the UK and Ireland Beverley Wise said: “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.”

Geotab UK and Ireland regional manager David Savage 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.”