Ensuring supply chain continuity with effective fuel infrastructure management in a second lockdown

By Richard Campbell

With the Government announcement that the whole of England will be going back into lockdown from Thursday, logistics companies will be scrambling to ensure that their operations can meet the inevitable increase in demand. According to a report by Waitrose the ongoing pandemic has caused an increase in online shopping. It states that the number of consumers in the UK who do a weekly grocery shop online has doubled since the coronavirus lockdown and 60% of people are shopping online for groceries more often.

Logistic operations need to be prepared to ensure their business continuity. Richard Campbell at Adler and Allan discusses the steps that could be taken to reduce the impact of this uncertain time.

Ensure your maintenance schedule is adhered to

It is now more important than ever to maintain your existing fuel infrastructure to ensure Britain keeps moving. Ensuring your maintenance schedules are up-to-date now will leave you free to concentrate on fulfilling demand.

Routine maintenance requirements do not increase with increase in use, it runs on time, not capacity. Fuel tanks should be inspected every one, three, six, 12, 36 and 72 months.

The Department for Transport confirmed that there was to be no change in the legislation regarding ADR tank testing. 

The three yearly intermediate inspection should be completed within three months either side of the specified test date (Reference: ADR book 2019 Ref 6.8.2.4.3). The six yearly period inspection should be completed by the specified date. 

Apart from the tanks themselves, the Fuel Storage Regulations cover separators, bunds and associated pipe work, with standards set and enforced by the Environment Agency, EN standard EN858-2 states that separators should be serviced at least twice a year.

It is critical, now, more than ever, to ensure that maintenance schedules are not missed for the compliance and safety of your operation, so you can continue to fulfil demand.

An increase in demand

An increase in use of your fuel infrastructure will likely mean that your remedials will be higher. The inspections identify parts that are not fit for purpose, and remediation work is either suggested or imposed depending on the severity of defect found. Parts that are more likely to require replacement with increased use are filters and gauges for example.

Every day of downtime can cost some national supermarkets in the region of £1m in lost revenue, and that doesn’t take into account the added paperwork pressure.

An increased possibility of leak or spill

An increase in demand will inevitably increase the possibility of a leak or spill. A spill of a substance capable of harming the environment and/or human health could result in a criminal prosecution by the relevant regulator under various statutory regimes. It could also lead to civil claims for nuisance or negligence from residents and other businesses affected by the incident. 

Not only can site owners and any employees or contractors tasked with facilities management be held personally liable in a criminal court for spills, non-compliance with legislative obligations can generate massive downtime at your site, huge fines and multiple private claims.

3,000 pollution incidents last year involved oil or fuel and with an average fine of £30,000 the penalties can be steep. Having an emergency response contract will ensure that if an incident does happen, it can be dealt with swiftly and compliantly.

Emergency fuel delivery

With fluctuating demand, having an emergency fuel delivery supplier available 24/7, 365 able to supply any volume or range of fuel types anywhere in the UK and its own fuel stores will prevent costly business stoppages and interruptions associated with running out of fuel.

Brexit

It has been widely reported that a no deal Brexit will not impact fuel supply, but it could impact the routine delivery of food and medicines. The UK imports 40 percent of its food, with around a third coming from EU member states. In a letter sent to logistics groups, Mr Gove warned of queues of up to 7,000-trucks-long blocking the roads leading into Dover and Folkestone, and delays of up to two days for lorries waiting to cross the Channel if no deal is reached. It is believed that up to 60 percent of hauliers might not have the correct paperwork on January 1. This will inevitably cause disruption in medical and food supplies. Ensuring your fuel infrastructure is safe and compliant will leave you free to focus on the paperwork required to navigate Brexit.

Ensuring you are there when the nation needs you most

2020 has certainly been challenging for the logistics industry and with Brexit uncertainty and a new lockdown announced, it doesn’t look to be getting any easier. However, there are steps you can take to ensure continuity of service.

Making sure maintenance requirements are met will ensure the compliance and safety of your operation. If the worst does happen and you experience a spill, the maintenance record will stand you in good stead with the authorities.

You need a partner that can be flexible and work around your business to minimise disruption and downtime, whether conducting routine maintenance, quickly and effectively dealing with your spill incident or delivering additional fuel.

Adler and Allan can keep you remain compliant and operational. If you need to conduct routine maintenance on a Sunday or you have a spill on a Friday night, we will be there for you, so that you can continue to be there for the nation.