Press Trust of india

UK military steps in for fuel deliveries to address supply shortages

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London: British Army personnel have begun helping to deliver fuel to petrol station forecourts from Monday to help relieve supply shortages across the country.

Almost 200 military tanker personnel are to be deployed to provide temporary support to help address the long queues at petrol stations across the country due to supply shortages. More than 65 drivers will start work from Monday, with plans to increase this as required.

The shortage has been caused by a severe shortage of truck drivers, especially heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers required to supply fuel. The military personnel have been undergoing their training at haulier sites across the country over the weekend to hit the road delivering fuel this week.

“More than half of those who have completed training to make fuel deliveries are being deployed to terminals serving London and the south east of England, demonstrating that the sector is allocating drivers to areas most affected in this first phase from Monday,” a UK government spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said there were signs of improvement in average forecourt stocks across the UK, adding that demand was “continuing to stabilise”.

“While the situation is stabilising, our Armed Forces are there to fill in any critical vacancies and help keep the country on the move by supporting the industry to deliver fuel to forecourts,” UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.

The government claimed that demand for fuel has stabilised over the past week and more fuel is now being delivered than is being sold, however some parts of the country still face challenges.

“Thanks to the immense efforts of industry over the past week, we are seeing continued signs that the situation at the pumps is slowly improving,” said UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

“UK forecourt stock levels are trending up, deliveries of fuel to forecourts are above normal levels, and fuel demand is stabilising. It’s important to stress there is no national shortage of fuel in the UK, and people should continue to buy fuel as normal. The sooner we return to our normal buying habits, the sooner we can return to normal,” he said.

The military intervention comes alongside a range of measures to ease temporary supply chain pressures in food haulage industries, which the UK government says has been brought on by the pandemic and the global economy rebounding around the world.

Further measures include a bespoke scheme allowing up to 300 fuel tanker drivers to the UK on a temporary basis.

The UK Home Office is allowing a number of fuel haulage drivers to work in the UK immediately as an emergency measure to address the crisis. It follows an earlier announcement of further time-limited visa measures to get 4,700 food haulage drivers from late October and leave by February 2022.

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