Long queues formed at petrol stations in the UK around two months ago. There weren’t enough truck drivers to deliver fuel. Short-term help came from the military. The “Operation Escalin” is currently expected to last another month.
British soldiers continue to help deliver to gas stations almost two months after their first deployment. The German press agency learned today from government circles in London that 210 workers are employed nationwide. This means that the number of military personnel deployed has not decreased since “Operation Escalin” began. There is no end in sight. The use will probably continue for about a month and be checked regularly, it said.
The military has been helping out since October 4th. The background to this is the blatant shortage of truck drivers, which for days led to numerous empty gas pumps, especially in London and south-east England. Hamster and panic buying worsened the situation, and there were occasional fights between those waiting. Some petrol stations only issued a maximum amount. Although the supply situation has long been under control again, there are no more queues at petrol stations. However, there is still a lack of truck drivers. Therefore, some products will not be available in the run-up to Christmas, associations had warned.
Soldiers are deployed in companies
The military operation was originally planned for a so-called no-deal Brexit – i.e. an exit from the EU without a trade pact with Brussels. The soldiers were trained by a fuel logistics company and deployed by private companies. It’s not free: since the end of October one hour of work has cost 28.51 pounds (33.70 euros).
Truck drivers are desperately wanted in Germany and many other countries as well. However, tougher immigration rules after Brexit have exacerbated the UK.
Bus drivers are attracted to high wages
The shortage affects much of British public life. In contrast to the affected EU countries, products are often not available and supermarket shelves remain empty. Retail chains now offer high wages for truck drivers. This affects other industries: Because of the better earning potential, bus drivers switch to haulage companies and thus in turn cause bottlenecks in local public transport.
Under the impression of empty pumps and long lines in front of gas stations, the British government finally approved work visas for up to 5,000 foreign drivers. When asked, the government did not want to tell how many people have made use of the regulation so far. According to British media reports, however, the interest is extremely low.