UK’s Drivers are facing shortages at the pumps as some petrol stations have been forced to close due to lack of supply.
Long queues have formed at some petrol stations although transport secretary Grant Shapps’, assertion that motorists should “carry on as normal”.
Some BP stations, and a small number of Esso-owned Tesco Alliance stations, were closed on Thursday because of a lack of delivery drivers. BP, Tesco and Esso warned of a lack of fuel at some of their forecourts as a result of the HGV driver shortage.
But Shapps said refineries had “plenty of petrol”.
He that added other petrol station operators and supermarkets, including Asda and Morrisons, said they have no problems.
There are about 8,380 petrol stations in the UK, according to the Petrol Retailers Association. Of these, about 1% are believed to be closed at the moment.
It is clearly understood that about 50 to 100 BP forecourts are affected by shortages, while Esso said “a small number” of its Tesco Alliance retail sites had been hit.
In estimation, the UK is short of about 100,000 HGV drivers – the situation got worse by the pandemic and Brexit.
Shapp told the BBC that the government could bring in the army to drive fuel tankers if it would help.
The AA president Edmund King said “there is no shortage of fuel and thousands of forecourts are operating normally with just a few suffering temporary supply chain problems.”
“Fridays and the weekend always tend to be busier on forecourts, as drivers either combine filling up with shopping runs, prepare for weekend trips or refuel for the start of the new working week.”
“It is now clear that there have been occasional delays over recent weeks that have been managed with hardly anyone noticing. This was a manageable problem,” he said.
Why the Shortage of Lorry drivers?
The Road Haulage Association (RHA), says there is about a shortage of 100,000 drivers, which is having an impact across the supply chain. This clearly means there aren’t enough drivers to actually transport fuel to the pumps.
Helena Wright, a transport manager for Norfolk-based firm W’s Transport, according to the BBC her company had sold two lorries after advertising for HGV drivers and not getting a single applicant.
“Normally we would have people on record to call who had left their details,” she said. “This is the first time for our firm that that’s happened, but it’s a problem that has been a long time coming.
“I’ve got a lot of drivers that are over the age of 50, 55 and looking to retire and we are not attractive as an industry for the younger generation.”
Wright said younger people were not ready to spend four to five nights a week away from home and were not ready to put up with “inhumane” conditions.
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has advised the government to relax visa restrictions for foreign workers in the short term to ease the driver shortage.
The RHA previously estimated that about 20,000 European drivers have left the UK since Brexit.
When the UK cut it ties with Brussels, there were more checks to be done at the border when before drivers are able to travel freely across the EU.