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 The logo of the BP is seen outside its petrol station in East Molesey, southwest London
BP said it was seeking to limit the impact of driver shortagesImage: picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. Dunham
BusinessUnited Kingdom

BP limits UK petrol deliveries as driver shortage bites

Richard Connor
September 23, 2021

The oil company BP is set to restrict deliveries of petrol and diesel to some gas stations in the face of a driver shortage. A lack of truck drivers has also disrupted food supply in the UK.


The fuel giant BP has told the UK government that it plans to limit petrol and diesel deliveries to its network of gas stations to ensure continuity of supply. 

Independent broadcaster ITV on Thursday cited the company saying a shortage of heavy goods drivers was to blame.

What's the problem? 

BP reportedly told the UK government that its ability to deliver fuel from refineries to fuel pumps had been seriously hampered. 

It blamed a driver shortage, which has also caused delays to food deliveries and gaps on supermarket shelves.

According to ITV, BP head of retail, Hanna Hofer, told a government meeting last week that the situation was "bad, very bad."

The company said it was preparing to restrict deliveries "very soon" and that outlets on main highways would be prioritized. 

Truck Drivers Wanted in Great Britain

BP said it had already closed some of its petrol stations because of the shortage. It said only a "handful" of outlets had so far been affected.

UK supply chains were already creaking because of a shortage of labor and complications caused by Brexit, with food missing from some supermarket shelves.

Fears of panic buying

The country's largest supermarket group, Tesco, told government officials last week that the shortage of truck drivers would lead to panic buying in the run-up to Christmas if action were not taken.

A junior minister on Thursday said the UK government was hoping to recruit more drivers domestically rather than attracting workers from abroad.

Junior Business Minister Paul Scully told the Sky News network that there were hundreds of thousands of people in Britain with full or partial licenses to drive heavy trucks.

The UK's Road Haulage Association has warned of a "critical shortage" of about 100,000 drivers.

Some major British companies have linked shortages of lorry drivers to Brexit, with new immigration rules disrupting recruitment. The pandemic has also prompted many foreign workers to leave, and led to shortages caused by staff going into isolation.

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