[Updated May 27th] Road freight movements in France are being hit this week by a fuel crisis that has almost emptied almost a third of the country’s 12,000 fuelling stations. According to a Reuters report, oil workers at Total have shutdown output at three of its five refineries in France and deliveries from a fourth have been blockaded by protesters. Three out of nine oil depots have also been blockaded according to Reuters. There are a total of eight refineries in the country.
Exxon Mobile said its two refineries had not been affected but Reuters reported that striking workers had blockaded the oil terminal at Fos-sur-Mer in southern France. Later reports from the BBC website say that all refineries in the country have been affected.
The workers, led by the hardline CGT and FO unions, are protesting at moves by the government of President Francois Hollande to introduce a new bill deregulating the labour market.
So far OEMs and transport providers to the automotive industry in France have been largely reserved in their comments on the impact the ongoing protests are having on their business.
Renault-Nissan said it would not comment on the situation but a spokesperson for rival French carmaker, PSA Peugeot-Citroën, told Automotive Logistics that it was not facing any disruptions that could prevent its factories from operating and did not see particular problems “on a short term basis”.
Transport and logistics provider Gefco said it had activated crisis cells through its national network in an effort to maintain operational continuity for its customers' supply chains. As part of that Gefco agencies throughout France are consolidating the list of working fuel stations and sharing it in real-time with its carrier pool through central teams. It added that some of its carriers had their own fuel reserves.
"We [are also] managing our international flows in an opportunistic way," said a spokesperson for Gefco. "For example, for a transport flow between Vigo (Spain) and Saint Nazaire (France), we choose to fill up with fuel in Vigo."
The company said that in addition it was adapting flows on a daily basis and that it would maintain the measure taken as long as the strike action lasted.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for XPO Logistics (which took over Norbert Dentressangle last year) said that the company had its own refuelling stations throughout France and its own fuel supplies.
"Our supply network allows us to continue transport activities on behalf of our customers without disruption," said the spokesperson. "We will continue to monitor developments and our own fuel stock levels in order to anticipate shortages and find solutions."
More details are expected as the crisis deepens, stay posted for updates here