BP rations petrol and closes some sites due to lorry driver shortage and ‘rapidly declining stock’

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BP plans to ration fuel deliveries to its petrol stations as it battles a shortage of lorry drivers.

The company has warned Government its stocks are “declining rapidly” and the next few weeks will be “really, really difficult”.

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.

The oil firm said only “a handful” of sites were affected by the fuel supply issues due to a lack of unleaded and diesel fuel.

There are around 1,200 BP branded petrol stations around the UK, of which 300 are operated by BP themselves.

The company said it was working hard to address the issues.

Supply chain delays had been ‘impacted by industry wide driver shortages across the UK’ and that the company was working hard to address the issues, BP said in a statement.

‘We continue to work with our haulier supplier to minimise disruption and to ensure efficient and effective deliveries’, the company added.

“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 retail, raised the problem at a meeting organised by the Cabinet Office last Thursday.

The company is said to have asked the Government to try to make it easier to temporarily recruit truck drivers from abroad to help ease the shortage.

Paul Scully, the small business minister, said: “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.”

Other petrol station operators have been approached by Business Matters for comment.

Many businesses have been complaining about the UK’s shortage of lorry drivers, which is still causing serious supply chain problems.

The coronavirus pandemic, Brexit and tax changes have all contributed to a lack of qualified drivers. Industry bodies estimate there is a shortfall of about 100,000 workers.