BP rations fuel deliveries to petrol stations

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BP is being forced to ration fuel deliveries to its petrol stations due to a lack of lorry drivers.

The oil giant is struggling to transport fuel from refineries to its 1,200 UK forecourts.

Up to 100 sites are believed to be suffering from fuel shortages with a handful temporarily closed.

Deliveries are being reduced across much of its network to cope with the low driver capacity.

Exxon Mobil said a “small number” of forecourts it operates for Tesco were also affected by driver shortages.

BP has warned the Government that fuel stocks were “declining rapidly” and the next few weeks would be “really, really difficult”, ITV News first reported.

Motorway forecourts will be prioritised for deliveries, BP said.

Its deliveries are outsourced to Hoyer, an independent haulier. The HGV sector has been struggling to recruit enough drivers in recent months due to the pandemic and Brexit.

BP 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.

“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.

“We continue to work with our haulier supplier to minimise disruption and to ensure efficient and effective deliveries to serve our customers. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

Hanna Hofer, BP’s head of UK retail, raised the problem at a meeting organised by the Cabinet Office last Thursday.

The company is understood to have asked ministers to temporarily ease restrictions on recruiting drivers from abroad.

Paul Scully, the small business minister, told ITV News: “We are concerned about BP and other sectors where we are hearing those stresses coming to bear.

“This is why we are having regular conversations to see what government can do to increase testing, to increase the supply of drivers and bring drivers back. We also want to see what the industry/ sector can do for themselves.”

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said there were no fuel shortages and drivers should continue buying as normal.

“We have a very resilient and robust supply chain. We obviously recognise the challenges faced by industry and have taken steps to support them. We acknowledge there are issues facing many industries across the UK,” he said.

The shortage of truck drivers has already affected supermarkets, leaving some gaps on shelves and forcing retailers to increase wages and offer signing-on bonuses.

The issue is also affecting refuse collection, with some councils cancelling bin collections as drivers have taken more lucrative jobs elsewhere.