Just as planned, soldiers began delivering fuel Monday morning to help with the UK’s current HGV driver shortage crisis.
After much contemplation, the government decided last week to utilize the army tanker drivers to deliver fuel to petrol stations.
In the first phase, the troops will most likely focus its efforts in London and the South East where the worst shortages remain, reports Sky News.
In London and the Southeast, 22% of filling stations ran dry, and 60% had both grades of fuel available.
Several forecourts have closed this week amid panic-buying of petrol, triggered by mild fuel shortages due to a shortage of tank drivers to deliver the liquid good.
⛽️Increasingly, however, fuel is not the main reason for visits to the local petrol station pic.twitter.com/fw43rSik1B
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) September 29, 2021
By contrast, fuel problems in Scotland, the North and the Midlands are “virtually at an end,” the PRA assured. Only 6% of the filling stations in those areas were empty on Sunday.
Overall, 17% of petrol stations were empty in the UK on Sunday, while 67% had both grades of fuel available, the group said.
Authorities have deployed around 200 military personnel are being deployed on what is now called “Operation Escalin.”
Many of them have been training with petroleum logistics company Hoyer in Thurrock, Essex.
To what end?
The PRA welcomed the military deployment but suggested it would have only a limited impact, according to Sky News
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday that the crisis was “abating” and the military was being deployed as a “precaution”.
But he has repeatedly refused to rule out shortages extending to the wider economy ahead of Christmas.
It is estimated that the UK needs at least 100,000 more HGV drivers to ensure supplies, and some businesses have warned that shop shelves could be empty if this is not addressed.