29 October 2020

What would the UK look like without fuel logistics?

This year has been anything but predictable. Alongside most of the world, the UK has faced a set of unique challenges in 2020, not least new extremes of supply and demand for the many logistics operations that keep the nation going.

For the UK’s fuel logistics industry, the need for its continued service has been vital. It’s enough to get us thinking about what the country could look like without the work of the fuel logistics sector. How many critical industries rely on bulk fuel delivery? We’ve taken a look at just a few.

Service stations

Great Britain’s network of 96 motorway service stations is there to sustain essential travel up and down the country, including for a wealth of other delivery and logistics fleets. Service stations have to keep a constant, carefully managed supply of wholesale fuel in stock in order to keep businesses and consumers on the road.

At a service station, fuel is the product, so competitive pricing, and speed, safety and reliability of fuel delivery is crucial. Precise management over stock levels equates to the healthiest profit margins on a product that’s subject to heavy legislation and constant market fluctuations, especially in recent months. Bulk fuel suppliers must provide safe, compliant and accurate delivery so that service stations can continue to keep motorways moving.

Emergency services

It could be disastrous for emergency service vehicles to ever be short on fuel. Under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, ambulance, fire and police trusts must keep their own stocks of fuel in-house as well topping up at consumer forecourts or at in-house reserve sites through fuel cards. This wholesale ‘bunkered’ fuel, and its maintenance, means the emergency services can continue to operate even if local or national fuel supplies are disrupted in some way.

Bunkered fuel is cheaper and reduces operational downtime through refuelling, whilst forecourts offer flexibility and negate the need to return to base. Trusts therefore continually reassess the proportion of each type of fuel they use. Either way, bulk fuel delivery is needed to ensure supplies of bunkered and forecourt fuel are ready for emergency services at a moment’s notice.

Agriculture

The UK’s farming sector cannot function without fuel to power agricultural vehicles and machinery, and a lack of fuel would soon mean shortages in essential crops and produce. Agricultural vehicles, such as tractors and ploughs, are too big to refuel at the forecourt, so farmers rely on fuel delivery to come to them, from ultra-low sulphur diesel and red diesel to ultra-low sulphur petrol and kerosene.

Many farms also store their own supplies of fuel in storage tanks for grain heating and drying, as well as running machinery and vehicles. Bulk fuel operators provide agricultural businesses with specialist off-road ‘red diesel’ at a lower fuel tax duty rate, distinguishable from normal white diesel by its distinctive red dye.

Construction

Construction is another industry that relies heavily on fuel delivery, particularly red diesel. Since most construction equipment must be refuelled every three to four hours, many building sites have their own fuel storage compound which must be regularly resupplied by a bulk fuel provider around the clock, day or night. Supporting bulk fuel delivery for any industry

A quick look at just four sectors that rely on bulk fuel delivery reveals just how integral the industry is to the UK. However, regardless of the type of operations a bulk fuel provider caters to, it needs digital support to offer a streamlined and competitive service. Our planning and optimisation solutions give bulk fuel businesses an operation-wide view, for enhanced efficiency, cost-saving and data insight. 


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