Freight transport is measured in ton-kilometres (t-km). If one ton of
Cornish pasties are transported 580 km (figure 15.5) then we say 580 t-km
of freight transport have been achieved. The energy intensity of road trans-
port in the UK is about 1 kWh per t-km.

When the container ship in figure 15.6 transports 50 000 tons of cargo a
distance of 10 000 km, it achieves 500 million t-km of freight transport. The
energy intensity of freight transport by this container ship is 0.015 kWh per
. Notice how much more efficient transport by container-ship is than
transport by road. These energy intensities are displayed in figure 15.8.

Transport of stuff by road

In 2006, the total amount of road transport in Britain by heavy goods vehi-
cles was 156 billion t-km. Shared between 60 million, that comes to 7 t-km
per day per person, which costs 7 kWh per day per person (assuming an
energy intensity of 1 kWh per ton-km). One quarter of this transport, by
the way, was of food, drink, and tobacco.

Transport by water

In 2002, 560 million tons of freight passed through British ports. The Tyn-
dall Centre calculated that Britain’s share of the energy cost of international
shipping is 4 kWh/d per person.

Transport of water; taking the pee

Water’s not a very glamorous stuff, but we use a lot of it – about 160 litres

Figure 15.5. Food-miles – Pasties, hand-made in Helston, Cornwall, shipped 580 km for consumption in Cambridge.
Figure 15.6. The container ship Ever Uberty at Thamesport Container Terminal. Photo by Ian Boyle
Figure 15.7. The lorry delivereth and the lorry taketh away. Energy cost of UK road freight: 7 kWh/d per person.