Road freight still 50pc below boom peak - CSO
The amount of goods being transported by road is at its highest in eight years, but is still 50pc below its peak in 2007, official data shows.
All indicators measuring the level of freight on Irish roads increased last year, with the number of goods vehicles up 13pc and heavy goods journeys up 17.6pc.
The number of tonnes being carried surged by a fifth.
According to the latest information from the Central Statistics Office, a total of 141.7m tonnes of goods were transported by road last year.
That was the highest level recorded since 2009 when 148.3m tonnes was carried.
But the CSO said this is still well below the peak figure of 299.3m prior to the financial crash.
CSO statistician Brendan Curtin said while overall road transport activity has reached close to 2009 levels in terms of tonnes carried and distance travelled, the number of goods vehicles on the road is 13pc higher than in 2009.
But he added: "Overall, road transport activity is still about 50pc below the peak levels reached in 2007."
Mr Curtin said large vehicles with over 10 tonnes of weight amount to about a fifth of the national fleet, but carry 87pc of the tonnage and 88pc of tonne-kilometres.
They account for more than half of all laden journeys and, due to their size, they carry heavier and larger loads.
He also said construction materials were the biggest single contributor to the tonnage growth between 2015 and 2016.
"The breakdown of the figures by type of work shows that building materials such as sand, gravel, cement and concrete had the most significant contribution to the 20pc growth in tonnes carried between 2015 and 2016."
The data also shows that vehicles used for hire or reward carried out 76.8pc of total road freight activity, amounting to 8.9bn tonne-km in 2016.
These vehicles carried 92.6m tonnes and travelled a total of 928m vehicle kilometres during 2016.
Vehicles owned by transport companies carried 87m tonnes of goods in 2016 compared with 54.7m tonnes by all other goods vehicles.
Of the total weight of goods carried, the commodity group quarry products, metal ores and peat accounted for the largest share, followed by foodstuffs.
The bulk of road freight activity as measured by tonne-km, was carried out over distances greater than 50 kilometres.
A total of 64.8m tonnes of goods was transported over these longer distances, covering 879m vehicle kilometres.
For distances of 50km and less, the total amount of goods carried was greater, but they represented just 15.1pc of the overall activity.