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Some of the BP and Esso petrol stations closed following the country’s lorry driver shortage

Posted on Thursday, October 14th by

Hanna Hofer, BP‘s head of UK retail, declared the current situation is ‘bad, very bad’ and could continue for weeks.

Some of the UK’s biggest petrol station operators have announced there is a shortage of fuel, and it will cause disruption for UK drivers.

BP has decided to close some of their stations after supply was hit by a lack of HGV drivers to deliver fuel, and ExxonMobil said a “small number” of its Esso petrol forecourts have also been affected.

The supply issues are related to the drivers' shortage, and Hoyer, one of the UK’s largest fuel logistics companies declared they are struggling to meet deliveries for their clients including BP, Esso, and Shell due to driver shortages.

BP‘s head of UK retail, Hanna Hofer, said the situation is “bad, very bad” and asked the government to understand the “urgency of the situation”. Ms. Hofer said the company had “two-thirds of normal forecourt stock levels required for smooth operations”.

Under emergency plans, BP will provide 80 percent of its normal service levels to nine in 10 of its petrol stations, meaning that a range of locations will not be restocked for one and a half days each week.

Motorways will be prioritised and restocked as normal. Ms. Hofer added that the next few weeks will be “really difficult”, but that fuel stocks should stabilise and start to rebuild at some point in October.

Labour’s Jim McMahon, the party’s shadow transport secretary, described the situation as a “rapidly worsening crisis” which the government had “failed to heed the warnings of for a decade”.

He declared: “Sticking plaster solutions are not going to solve it. Ministers must take decisive steps now to tackle the 90,000-driver shortfall. If they fail to take action, the responsibility for every empty shelf, every vital medicine not delivered and every supplier not able to meet demand lies at the Conservatives’ door.”

When asked about the prospects of Britons “panic buying” fuel, a government spokesman said: “there is no shortage in fuel in the UK so people should continue to buy it as usual”. They added: “We recognise the challenges facing industry and have already taken action to increase the supply of HGV drivers, including streamlining the process for new drivers and increasing the number of driving tests. We continue to closely monitor labour supply and work with sector leaders to understand how we can best ease particular pinch points.”

Even if the government insists that there is no fuel shortage people should worry about, the problem of logistics facing the petrol industry is showing signs of becoming more difficult.

There have been closures of petrol stations as far apart as Aberdeen, the Isle of Wight and the Southeast of England in recent months all pointing to the difficulties on delivery schedules. Drivers often make as many as four deliveries to petrol stations per day.

Considering Hoyer is one of the largest companies specialising in fuel distribution, the situation will impact other businesses offering the same services within the sector even more.

Source: The Independent

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