As a result, the Leicestershire-based independent distributor was successfully recognised for excellence in administration systems as well as awarded the fleet operators registration scheme accreditation. Following our recent report of this successful outcome we spoke with managing director, David Prince, to find out a little more about this family-owned distributor.
David talked us through the story of the business from its beginning:
Prince Petroleum was started by my late father, Victor Prince, in 1963. At this time, they were known as “Hawkers” for Esso blue paraffin and I recall, as a child, going out on paraffin delivery rounds with my father in what was, already, an old ex-MOD fuel Tanker.”
In the mid to late sixties the business was appointed an authorised distributor for the then continental oil company (CONOCO) and, by this time, the business had expanded into road fuels, home heating oil and agricultural fuels.
From the early days a steady flow of business gradually moved onwards and upwards to the present day with the company now dealing in domestic, commercial, agricultural and road fuels throughout local regions of Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.
Prince Petroleum remains very much family-owned, led by David and Rita Prince, and, with business continuing to grow, David was recently joined in the company by his two sons.
What have been the main company milestones of growth and change along the way?
In 1965 we were appointed an authorised distributor for the continental oil company and 20 years later, in 1984, we were appointed an authorised distributor for Total. The mid-eighties saw us change our name from the original, Hamblins Petroleum Products, to Prince Petroleum and, in 1989, we acquired a second, larger depot and distribution centre.
Another significant change came when 2017 saw us move from our original Leicester base building to new, purpose-built offices at our current Broughton Lodge Oil depot. In March 2019 we signed a branded distributor agreement with Valero Energy and late 2020 saw us embark on the accreditation project which led to the successful completion and award of both ISO 9001, for excellence in administration systems, and FORS Bronze (Fleet Operators Register Scheme).
What do you enjoy most about operating in fuel distribution?
I continue to enjoy the challenge of maintaining and adding new customers in what is, today, a very dynamic pricing environment. We do, however, believe that local service and knowing your customers needs counts. We have a genuine commitment to offering a first-class customer service and, with our decades of experience, we have a real understanding of the fuel supply industry. For Prince Petroleum, our customers’ needs are at the heart of everything we do.
How does business divide between domestic, commercial and agricultural and has that changed over time?
The company is represented in all three market sectors and, while the domestic sector remains fairly static, transport and agricultural fuel sectors continue to grow.
In the light of the drive to reduce fossil fuel use do you still have faith in the future of the fuel distribution industry?
I think the simple answer is yes, as we transition into new future liquid fuel solutions.
Are you optimistic about the industry desire to persuade Government that a liquid
biofuel should be part of the future for home heating?
I do think that new low-carbon liquid fuels will play a role in our move to a lower carbon environment.
Looking ahead what is the vision for the company?
The future of the business is to embrace the developing role of new low carbon liquid fuel solutions for our customers.