Fuel distribution industry responds to Covid-19

Whilst the majority of the country goes into lockdown, the UK government has classed fuel and oil distribution as a key service that needs to continue.

With the importance of social distancing now playing a crucial role, fuel oil distributors who do have regular contact with some customers are taking measures to ensure that distribution can continue in the safest way possible.

Minimising contact

Following preventative guidance from the UK and Scottish Governments, along with the World Health Organisation and advice from industry bodies such as UKIFDA, in Scotland Gleaner has put steps in place to protect both employees and customers as much as possible.

These preventative measures include not handing over their hand-held devices for customer signatures upon delivery, but instead drivers will log the account holder name. Hand washing facilities within stores are also available, as well as disposable gloves being provided for fuel pump operations and contactless payments being promoted.

Gleaner has also requested that customers buy sensibly to make the stock in their stores last, with enough being available for everyone.

Operating behind closed doors

Berkshire-based Marsh Fuels announced last week that although their offices are closed to non-staff, they are still operating behind the scenes with drivers continuing to make deliveries, wearing their usual protective gear. The company has asked customers to only greet drivers from afar to adhere to social distancing advice and minimise business disruption.

A higher demand

Owner Carrie Marsh is urging customers not to panic buy, stating that deliveries will be made to existing customers as well as new customers, whose normal supplier may have closed the door on new orders. With oil in such high demand, Carrie says: “We prioritise our more senior customers that we know of in our village and anyone with specific challenges, such as a customer who has newly returned home from a hip operation or a new-born baby at the other end of the scale!”

Even in such trying times, Carrie remains positive:

“Our company has seen two world wars and got to this point, so I know our staff will, as ever, pull together and get us through this stage in history in the same way.”

Alleviating panic buys

Other fuel distributors are also deterring panic buyers, such as Star Multifuels in Wales which took to LinkedIn to reassure customers that they are still delivering oil as normal, and that customers should not worry about placing orders in a panic.

The company also announced that it has extended its opening hours enabling customers to order over a longer period, and has suggested that card payments should be made upon ordering to avoid disappointment.

With the landscape changing day by day, more business disruption is anticipated, but for many fuel oil distributors it is business as usual, maintaining their part in the supply chain whilst also going above and beyond the industry’s already stringent safety rules.  

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