Fuel Strike – Is your Supply Chain prepared?

By Craig Bunker

29 March 2012

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Istock _000003906177smallSince the early 1990s when fuel tanker drivers were contracted out to 3PLs, these significant distribution contracts have exchanged hands every three to five years. Each subsequent 3PL has promised a better deal for the oil companies and supermarkets. Whilst these successive changes initially allowed for numerous efficiency gains, it seems the drivers have now decided to act to protect their incomes.

This pending threat of strike action is reminiscent of the fuel blockades of 2000, when several strategic terminals across the UK were blockaded, preventing the free movement of fuel tankers and effectively crippling our supply chains. Unsurprisingly this caused much concern within the government and led to fears of food shortages throughout the country.

The solution being proposed this time round is to train the military to handle deliveries. However, regardless of the contingency plan put in place, the risk of fuel deliveries being affected remains high.

Managing Fuel Risk

Many companies with large fleets have strategic fuel stocks which they manage either alone or with partners, but some do not, based on the belief that fuel shortages like those seen in 2000 will not happen again. Similarly, have companies considered whether or not their suppliers have strategic fuel stocks to ensure no disruption to their inbound supply chain?

If businesses have not already done so, now is the time to check strategic stocks and ensure that the supplier base also has contingency stocks in place to maintain their supply chain effectiveness.

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