Thousands of gas stations in the United Kingdom emptied over the weekend, and yesterday long lines of drivers formed in search of fuel. Fuel is being held up at refinery terminals due to a lack of drivers to distribute it.
Several factors influence the shortage of truck drivers, including the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, which prevents the free transit of foreign workers, Reuters reported on Sept. 27.
A shortage of around 100,000 drivers is estimated, while the authorities will grant 5,000 emergency visas to alleviate the crisis, a measure that some consider insufficient.
Speaking on the subject, a 44-year-old Polish owner of a construction and transport company in Britain, Andrzej Dobrowolski, considered the government’s proposal far from reality.
“Boris Johnson is inviting drivers to come back, and they are laughing. They are saying: why should they leave their companies in Poland, Bulgaria or Romania or anywhere in the EU for four months?” he said.
He added: “What the British don’t understand is that it’s not just about the money,” he said. “Their offer is at least three years out of date.”
In this context, the prime minister, Boris Johnson, had scheduled emergency meetings to detach hundreds of soldiers to drive a fleet of 80 fuel tankers, The Guardian reported.
Meanwhile, the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) reported that between 50% and 90% of the country’s 8,380 pumps were dry, according to reports from its members.
PRA president Brian Madderson said the shortages were the result of “panic buying, pure and simple. There’s plenty of fuel in this country, but it’s in the wrong place for motorists.”
He also said that military personnel had been training to drive tankers, although the government had “no plans at the moment.”
The projected outlook for Christmas looks bleak given that turkey and gift supplies are threatened, given the impact of this fuel crisis on the supply chain.
Shortages affect all types of products, including food and fuel, with unforeseen price increases.
The situation becomes even more serious with winter approaching. For some EU politicians, the difficulties experienced by the UK in its supply chain would be a consequence of the 2016 Brexit.
“The free movement of labor is part of the European Union, and we tried hard to convince the British not to leave the Union,” said Olaf Scholz, the Social Democrat candidate to succeed Angela Merkel as German chancellor.
“They decided otherwise. I hope they will manage the problems arising from that,” Scholz said.
On the other hand, tension among fuel consumers is rising and generating conflicts at gas stations, as recorded in a video by @trtworld.
“A fight breaks out at a gas station in north London after a man allegedly cut in line to buy fuel,” he wrote.
They added: “Fuel shortages caused by the supply chain crisis were compounded by panic buying that created tension among the public as long lines emerged at petrol stations across the UK.”