Military tanker personnel to be deployed from Monday to relieve ‘fuel supply chain’ issues

Military drivers will step in to help with the supply chain issues Photo Frank Leppard

Almost 200 Military tanker personnel, 100 of which are drivers, will be deployed from Monday to provide temporary support as part of the government’s action to relieve pressure on petrol stations suffering with supply and demand fuel issues.

The government claims demand for fuel has stabilised throughout the week and more fuel is now being delivered than is being sold although it is admitted that some parts of the country still face challenges. such as in the south east.

Thanet is still experiencing issues with queues forming at forecourts as drivers attempt to refuel. This is causing backlogs on some roads and has disrupted bus routes. The panic to buy means fuel at forecourts is being dispensed at a faster rate than usual and so running out before the next scheduled delivery.

A joint statement issued last week by the fuel industry said fuel supplies at UK refineries and terminals remain high and they asked the public to continue to purchase fuel as normal.


Staff at Sainsbury’s in Westwood and at St Lawrence garage are among those who have been praised for ensuring as smooth an operation as possible despite being on the receiving end of some abuse.

The Government is also introducing a bespoke scheme allowing up to 300 fuel tanker drivers to the UK on a temporary basis who will be able to arrive immediately (subject to immigration checks, and endorsement from BEIS) and stay to work until the end of March 2022

Measures also include some 4,700 food haulage drivers who will arrive from late October and leave by 28 February 2022 and 5,500 poultry workers who will also arrive from late October and be able stay up to 31 December 2021

The government says the introduction of  temporary, time-limited visa measures, does not detract from the commitment to upskill and increase the wages of domestic labour.

There is also to be an immediate increase in HGV testing and new skills bootcamps to train up to 4,000 more people to become HGV drivers.

A helpful facebook page set up to help locate where has petrol and diesel can be found here


  1. The two shell garages have been the most disorganised throughout Thanet, others were so good it was simply queue in and out with no fuss admittedly a few shut during school drop off/ pick up which was inconvenient but practical nonetheless to ease traffic flow, Cliftonville was utter chaos, drivers pushing in, no marshalling and trying to get to the Thanet Way through Birchington was a non starter, onlybway was via Manston or Acol , let’s hope this ends soon, Thanet has been badly hit as other areas I bet and 99% of motorists have simply grinned and bested it whilst the minority have adopted the in all alright jack s** you attitude. Personally o would also thank the person who set up the social media page of where to get fuel, as it has indeed proved valuable Safe driving everyone

  2. Obviously idiots who said demand has stabalised lives in a dark damp place with the rest of the mushrooms (fed shit and kept in dark place) who make auch stupid comments… maybe for them there have never been any supply issues, what about the rest of the 500 Army tanker drivers they had in place as part of structured opperation preperations .. in case of a no deal Brexit.. they knew this was coming…when you take 1000,s of HGV Drivers out of the supply chain any idiot with staff we emply wiping their arse can predict the outcome… is this rocket science? No simply no.. and they have had like 2 years to prepare.. blame Covid, blame supply companies … but what you really need to do is look in the mirror and blame whos actually responsible.. they could have had 500 army drivers in action from day 1, and even still they only deploy 100… which will make virually no difference.. what a joke..

  3. Seems to be far more of a problem in Thanet. Was in Canterbury this morning and all their petrol stations have got fuel with no more than 5 or 6 cars queuing at any one time. All very organised.

    • Thanet has definitely been disregarded compared to Canterbury in terms of supply. I haven’t been able to drive anywhere as I am saving the last few miles of gas for the cars MOT, after that, I hope that by the 6th October we may be in a better position.

      Has South Thanet’s MP had anything to say on the particular problems the people of Thanet are having especially our essential workers?

  4. I take it Army drivers already have the qualifications that normal hgv have to gain to diver the fuel ?

    • Yes, they get training and pass tests in the forces!
      The sooner they are deployed the better in Thanet.

  5. An extra 100 drivers, will it be enough ?

    The problem is HGV arent welcome in kent, very limited places to park and take their rest periods. Very few lorry parks for them. Fined for parking up in industry estates, lay-bys closed of to them. KCC doesnt want them in kent. Motorway service stations rip them of for food and parking. Normally dirty smell toilets and showers.

    Why would any HGV driver want to work in England or kent ?
    Thanet is the back of beyond KKC forget about it, as does the government no wonder thanet is last inline for fuel.

    • 100 drivers , 1 x 25,000 litre delivery a day, 2.5 million litres of fuel extra per day, say a driver wants 50 litres then thats 50, 000 extra cars filled per day, won’t take long until everyone is filled to the brim that they never usually are and every can and bottle is full and sat in the shed.
      The nation has a just in time delivery system for lots of items , all based on long term trends of consumption , and it all works perfectly well until the general public decide to change their longterm habits on the back of a scare story circulated for politica/ businessl gain. Then once the “i’ve got to fill up mindset sets in” the whole sytem goes to pot. If everyone just bought what they normally do there’d be no problem. There are people queueing to stick 10 quids worth in a tank that would normally last them 2 weeks, utterly daft.
      As for the complaints about garages not marshalling drivers , its not the garages responsibility to tell people how to drive. The police should be there moving people on and if they refuse doing them for obstruction. Officer leans through window if you have a quarter tank or more you move on.
      I’ve done nearly 1200 miles in the last 10 days as yet i’ve not had to queue more than a minute , the only place i’ve seen queues are from Whitstable into thanet. West country no problem , wales no problem, motorways no problem, a bit of patience and planning is all you need.

    • Totally agree! The facility for lorry drivers in Europe are superb compared to the UK. The same goes for motor homes.

  6. Measures also include some 4,700 food haulage drivers who will arrive from late October and leave by 28 February 2022 and 5,500 poultry workers who will also arrive from late October and be able stay up to 31 December 2021

    Does the government know this or are they hoping this will happen ? Every report I have read from foreign HGV drivers is that they dont intend come to the uk. For the reasons I mentioned above

    • If foreign drivers can get here and earn 12k tax free then go home they will. The low pay and appalling working conditions you point out are why the industry doesn’t attract workers in the UK, its about time the industry and goverment treated drivers properly and paid them properly , yes it’ll increase costs to the consumer but any consumer that wants drivers to work in the conditions they have done is as much part of the problem as anything else. The country has relied on cheap labour willing to put up with poor conditions for too long, if brexit brings and end to this then its a shame we didn’t leave earlier.

  7. My newspaper this morning says only 150 army drivers will be used, so remind me, how many tanker drivers are they short of, its thousands isn’t it? The RAF will have HGV drivers, and I once knew someone who spent her entire service in Portsmouth (9 years) as a Navy driver! This should have been foreseen by any good government, but thats the problem, this Tory government could’t run a bath! Just as well its not another war time emergency, where would be then with this shower running the show, deck chairs, and icebergs keep coming to mind!

    • Thing is Dumpton lots of people in thanet vote for this government. They have nice houses, nice flashy cars, lots of money. Of course they vote for a me me, rich get richer government. Why wouldnt they ?

      Thanet is really split lots of big houses, Ferraris, Porsche, Lamborghini, jaguar, Aston Martin, maclaren etc.

      Lots of people who live in damp, high rent private let’s, low paid jobs is the other thanet. The thanet that those people, the council, KCC want to hide away.

      You smell dope in every thanet town !

      They like there houses and cars and the cafe and arty life style. Why not ? Thanet is good for them.

      But most of our kids have to move away for work. Ones that stay cant afford to get in the property ladder unless their parents can help. Are charged high private rent which takes 70% of their income.

      Society is broke it’s all about me. My mate was queuing for fuel the other day for around an hour. As he got to the front two people in nice cars tried to turn right and jump the queue. Lucky the garage staff stop them and told the the queue is that way. I wouldnt dream of doing that and jumping a queue, some people dont give a damp about others.

  8. Sainsbury’s service station staff have been totally brilliant and well organized , if any of them are verbally abused they should have the right to ban that driver and registration !

  9. Some of the stuff I’ve been told by the staff at the BP in St. Lawrence is shocking. Punchups, threatening the staff with violence, there are some truly scummmy people around. My best to the hard workers at the pumps!

  10. Saw Westwood Tesco petrol station was closed today-obviously the morons have been sucking it dry the last week.

  11. Tesco was opened early 7am but queue was right past Homebase so went to Sainsburys they had no fuel, went got my jab and was just in time to queue for Sainsburys as they were having fuel being delivered, first chance to fill up in over 7 days, staff there were amazing so organised but of course Tesco ran out so everyone was trying Sainsbury.What a mess this government is making of our country late as usual to react to problems

  12. This is a problem, that was foreseen some time ago and the Govt was informed, but in their breezy, panshine way, the Govt ignored warnings. You know the stuff, fake news, project fear etc.
    The Govt and the Daily mail, blame ‘the media’. This is the same media that traduced a not very intuitive being like J. Corbyn during the 2019 election and now when the media are not singing the right song, they are blamed for the problem.
    The other Aunt Sally is you the public, who are acting irrationally. You are blamed because you are not buying the usual amount of fuel, but no thought is given why this irrationality abounds. The public is acting as they do, because there is a lack of trust in what govt says and does. When the Govt says everything is returning to normal and clearly that is not true, this only makes things worse. Now, finally, something is being done and the petrol retailer association admits that in SE England there is a problem, because they too were cajoled into the panshine school of govt.
    Yes, there are people who have acted selfishly, and antisocially, but calling people scum or morons, helps no one, be they politicians or those in this HYS.
    The reasons for the supply shortage is in part structural (wages, cut throat competition, conditions of service and the average age of drivers) and events (Covid and yes, Brexit).
    Govt denies there being a problem, because it puts into context, their whole libertarian, free market, isolationist, stance on most things, and now chickens are coming home to roost, or they would do, but for the shortage of abattoir workers, warehouse staff and drivers.

  13. “Oh it is.

    I can get to work (I took the bus, or bike)

    I can go and visit my family (The train was great)

    I can go shopping (I just walk down the road)

    I can go on holiday (The train again)

    I can football my football team around the country (I don’t understand!)

    A car is not needed – people just think it is. But whilst you’re sitting in a queue for 2 hours, having found a garage that’s open for petrol, following a fruitless journey round Thanet, I’ll be zipping along at 120 mph in quiet comfort, maybe a book to read, perhaps a beer, to see my family, and possibly football a football with them.

    • I’ve always quite liked buses. I take the train whenever I can but … (see below). Yep, I often shop locally but there’s a mark up I can’t always afford – a big supermarket shop is still the cheapest option. Holidays … well.

      Like an increasing number of people in our ageing population I have significant difficulty walking any distance. The trouble with buses and trains is that when you get off ’em there’s often still a way to go to go to your eventual destination. And much as I’d love to ‘holiday by train’, if I wanted to get out and do stuff / see things I’d need to spend ages seeking & waiting for public transport. In many areas it’s virtually non-existent. Walking, standing, waiting, seeking out transport … these things wipe me out physically. I look okay, nobody can tell how knackered & sick everyday life can make me.

      Tons of people are in the same boat and boy oh boy do we need our flaming cars, no matter how environmentally aware we are. Public transport will have to be much smarter, much more joined-up to make a real difference to us.

  14. No a car is need.

    Ok great for you ! But I work in thanet on thanet wages and cant afford the train prices to follow my football team. A mid week match finish around 10pm have you tried to catch a train from Newcastle at 11pm to thanet ?

    Have you tried getting to work for 5am by bus/train ? Work is 8 miles away.

    I havent got the time to use the train, it takes ages and puts hours of travel time on the day.

    For me to walk to the shop it’s over a two mile walk around only half of that on pavement. By the time I have got my fish n chips it will be stone cold when I get back !

    I agree a car in a City might not be needed but living on the bottom right hand corner of England I need a car.

    Perhaps if public transport ran 24/7 and was close to my door and cheap I would use it. Using public transport doesnt suit me.

  15. The journey time between Thanet and Newcastle is 2 hours shorter by rail than by car.
    And yes, public transport should be much better and cheaper. Year on year train fares have gone up faster than inflation; fuel duty satys the same.
    Public transport will improve if people use it.
    We are on the brink if an environmental catastrophe. Driving fossil fuelled cars is out of the question, if we are to pass on anything to our children and grand children.

  16. for the uneducated, this fuel problem has nothing to do with driver shortage, the european drivers went home before the end of march, the fuel problem started at the end of september, so who delivered the fuel from march to september if there was a shortage of drivers. most tanker companies have a waiting list of drivers. this fuel problem is because of the panic buyers in late september who took all the fuel leaving nothing for people who need it. there are the same number of tanker drivers now as there was in april, it just needs everyone to only buy fuel as they did before, not top up when you have used a couple of litres. plenty to go around if the panic buyers stay at home. stop listening to the lies and hype from the media.

  17. The shortage of drivers can be blamed on many things. But every year thousands of drivers leave, or retire. For nearly two years there has been hardly any LGV lessons or tests. Also very little CPC training courses going on. So no wonder there is a drivers shortage.

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