Wintertime woes

Craig's Forth Bridge pic

Winter can be a difficult time for retailers, with bad weather impacting on the roads and the forecourts. But recent months have seen yet another challenge for suppliers.

AS if plunging fuel prices and severe winter weather wasn’t enough to deal with ahead of Christmas, forecourt owners in some areas of Scotland this year faced an additional challenge when the Forth Road Bridge was closed for over two weeks.

Although it reopened before Christmas to all vehicles except HGVs, it remains closed to HGVs until mid-February, with diversions of around 50 miles via the Kincardine or Clackmannanshire bridges still the only option for hauliers.

As most fuel suppliers now only supply out of the Grangemouth and Clydebank terminals, the closure of such a key transport route in central Scotland will certainly have impacted on the delivery of product to fuel retailers in some areas. However, some suppliers, such as Jet, have put extra measures in place to ensure their dealers are not affected.

“We identified the sites that would be impacted and added additional time to ensure our delivery windows are met,” said Paul Yates, territory manager for Scotland. “Our hauliers have also taken advantage of the dedicated HGV lanes on the diversion routes. Consequently, our delivery service in central Scotland has been coping well with the challenging conditions.

“We are also fortunate to be one of only a few fuel suppliers in Scotland that is not limited to one supply source. As well as sourcing product out of Grangemouth, we are the largest supplier of product into a network of terminals in the north of Scotland, including Aberdeen, Inverness and Peterhead. This product is delivered from our own Humber Refinery via our east coast shipping routes.

“Due to the ongoing challenges of bringing product up from the central belt and difficult weather conditions on the main routes, we have seen increased demand for product from the north of Scotland terminals.”