CAMPBELL COUNTY, Va. – As the economy continues to bounce back from the pandemic, we’re seeing a struggle with supply chain issues.
“Less drivers and increased demand [for fuel] puts a strain on the industry,” said Kyle Beavon, national fuel consultant for Foster Fuels.
Beavon says a truck driver shortage has been an issue.
AAA says it’s a challenge across the country.
“A lot of those folks that drove those tanker trucks turned to other jobs, and when the economy started to bounce back this year, they didn’t come back to doing that. So, it’s been very tough for some of the fuel companies out there to find enough drivers that they need to deal with everything that’s happened,” said Morgan Dean, AAA spokesperson.
Beavon says Foster Fuels had a backup plan even before the pandemic, so they’ve hired about 30 qualified employees over the past year.
“We’ve been fortunate to pull some of those drivers that we hire for emergency events, for short-term or temporary employment, to not only support that mission but come aboard as a full-time or part-time employee,” said Beavon.
He says they still need more help, especially if a cold snap is on tap.
“If we have a cold winter, sure it can cause longer wait times,” said Beavon.
But they’re determined to get to their customers.
“The biggest thing that’s going to help us is our customers being on auto-fill program or communicating their need well in advance of the critical moment that they’re out of fuel,” said Beavon.
And to help drivers, Foster Fuels is offering incentives and other benefits to bring on more employees.
“There’s a great career there to be had, and I think it’s often overlooked,” said Beavon.