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UK enlists army amid gasoline shortage

2021-10-01T20:52:16.876Z

The UK military is preparing to bring gasoline to gas stations after a shortage of tanker drivers forced some to close last week, causing panic buying by British motorists. | Economy | CNN



BP closes UK service stations 1:00

London (CNN Business) -

The UK military is gearing up to bring petrol to gas stations after a shortage of tanker drivers forced some to shut down last week, causing panic purchases by British motorists.

As thousands of gas stations have run out of fuel since then, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government has announced a series of emergency measures to address the crisis, including issuing temporary work visas for up to 5,500 foreign truck drivers. and the suspension of the competition law to allow suppliers to deliver fuel to rival operators.

The government said late Monday that British Army tanker drivers had been placed "in a state of readiness" and could participate in delivering fuel where it is most needed.

"If necessary, the deployment of military personnel will provide the supply chain with additional capacity as a temporary measure to help alleviate pressures caused by spikes in localized demand for fuel," said UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, it's a statement.

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The Automobile Association (AA) called for calm on Friday after the company BP was forced to temporarily close some of its stations for the second time in two months due to a shortage of drivers.

However, many Britons paid little attention and flocked to gas stations in the hope of getting fuel for the following week.

The Gasoline Retailers Association, which represents independent fuel suppliers, told the BBC that up to two-thirds of the 5,500 service stations operated by its members ran out of fuel, with the rest of them "partially dry and running low. early".

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Social media users have reported long lines at stations across the country, and some motorists on longer trips have been forced to abandon their cars after running out of gas.

Companies such as ExxonMobil (XOM) and Shell (RDSA) said in a government statement on Sunday that they wanted to "reassure the public that the problems that have arisen are due to temporary spikes in customer demand, not a shortage. national fuel ".

Worker shortages are a growing problem in Britain, which has a record one million job openings.

The truck driver shortage has been exacerbated by the pandemic and Brexit, which caused tens of thousands of EU citizens to leave their trucking jobs and other occupations in the UK.

According to the Road Haulage Association, the UK is missing around 100,000 truck drivers.

Last month, the government said that "most solutions" to the crisis would be driven by industry and that it did not want to depend on workers from outside the country.

Motorists line up to refuel at a station along the M3 motorway near Fleet, west London, on September 26, 2021.

'Serious damage'

Ruby McGregor-Smith, president of the British Chambers of Commerce, said the government's decision to offer 5,500 temporary visas to foreign truck drivers was insufficient, likening it to "throwing a thimble of water on a bonfire."

"Without further action, we now face the very real prospect of serious damage to our economic recovery, stifled growth and another less than happy Christmas for many companies and their clients across the country," he said in a statement.

Brian Madderson, president of the Gasoline Retailers Association, said calling in the military alone will not be enough to resolve the crisis because soldiers may not have the training to recharge storage tanks at gas stations.

"It is not an absolute panacea," he told BBC Radio.

"There is not a single lever that the government and the industry are going to pull together to solve this situation."

BP said in a statement Sunday that it was experiencing "intense demand" and that about 30% of the 1,200 sites it supplies in the UK had none of the major types of fuel.

The company said it was "working to replenish itself as quickly as possible."

Shell welcomed the government's action on Monday, saying it "has been seeing higher than normal demand on our network, which has caused some sites to be running out of some types (of fuel). We are refueling them. quickly, usually within 24 hours. "

Sainsbury's (JSNSF), which operates service stations at some of its supermarkets, said "We are experiencing high demand for fuel. We are working closely with our supplier to maintain supply and all of our sites continue to receive fuel."

Supermarket chains Morrisons and Tesco (TSCDF) said they were also working hard to keep customers supplied.

- Anna Cooban, Chris Liakos and Hanna Ziady contributed reporting.

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Source: cnnespanol

All news articles on 2021-10-01

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