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Exxon Mobil : HGV driver crisis sees petrol forecourts hit

09/24/2021 | 01:21am

THE FIRST UK petrol stations are closing as a chronic shortfall of qualified drivers begins to be felt on the forecourt. BP and Esso owner ExxonMobil yesterday announced that deliveries of petrol and diesel to forecourts across the UK will be reduced to ensure supplies do not run out.

It is the latest industry to be hit by the labour shortages which are threatening to slow the speed of the UK's economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement ExxonMobil said that a "small number" of Esso operated gas stations are affected with around 200 Tesco-linked sites facing shortages.

"We are working closely with all parties in our distribution network to optimise supplies and minimise any inconvenience to customers. We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience," the spokesperson said.

Earlier, BP also said it would be rationing fuel. In a statement the company said, "we are experiencing fuel supply issues at some of our retail sites in the UK and unfortunately have therefore seen a handful of sites temporarily close due to a lack of both unleaded and diesel grades."

"These have been caused by delays in the supply chain, which has been impacted by industry-wide driver shortages across the UK, and we are working hard to address this issue," they added.

The news comes as the heavy goods vehicle sector struggles with recruitment due to a combination of the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit reducing the number of available drivers. A number of licence tests which were scheduled for last year were cancelled due to various lockdowns, creating a significant backlog.

The exodus of some 500,000 EU workers creating chronic shortages among road transport drivers, where European nationals previously made up 11 per cent. Job openings for transport drivers jumped 68 per cent in June compared to pre-pandemic levels according to an IFS study.

BP's head of UK retail Hanna Hofer had earlier warned that it was important the Government understood the "urgency of the situation", which she described as "bad, very bad", according to ITV News.

She said BP had "two-thirds of normal forecourt stock levels required for smooth operations" and the level is "declining rapidly".

Hofer said fuel will be restocked less often "very soon," with motorway stations prioritised.

(c) 2021 City A.M., source Newspaper

© Acquiremedia 2021
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