There has never been a better time for small to medium sized haulier to invest in depot storage of fuel, says Joe Ferrara of Centre Tank Services (CTS)
We are all aware of the difficult economic situation at the moment especially in the haulage and commercial vehicle markets. However, precisely because of the current climate this could be exactly the right time for small to medium sized hauliers with the available funds to invest in home storage of fuel.
Tank manufacturers and fuel management system suppliers are currently, like everyone else, competing in a difficult and decreasing market and as a result shrewd buyers can negotiate some fantastic deals on tanks and fuel management systems.
The benefits of home storage haven’t changed; most tank owners would concede that home storage gives them more convenience and control over their fuel. In addition hauliers can negotiate pricing within a competitive market, which over the course of a year could run into savings of thousands of pounds again especially at the moment when fuel distributors are operating in a generally more difficult market.
Once a haulier makes a buying decision to purchase a tank other factors need to be considered with respect to who has access to the fuel and how the fuel is dispensed. When you consider that fuel is usually a haulier’s second largest business expense behind salaries, it never ceases to amaze me how many small to medium sized hauliers who own their own tanks have virtually no control on how the fuel is dispensed with pretty much anyone having physical access to the fuel with little or no security and no record of authorised transactions using just a basic pump and meter.
Fuel management systems have reduced in price considerably in the past few years and nowadays it is relatively easy to purchase a fuel management system for say 50 vehicles with key access recording vehicle, date, time, driver, MPGs and amount of fuel dispensed with full PC software and reporting installed for around £2,500. When you consider you are protecting and monitoring fuel in a medium sized tank that would run into tens of thousands of pounds many hauliers are able to justify the initial outlay for the security and monitoring benefits such a system would give.
If a tank owner is interested solely in security by only allowing authorised users pin number access to fuel without PC monitoring, then under those circumstances systems can easily be bought for well under a thousand pounds with the option to upgrade to full fuel management later.
The design of fuel management systems generally has changed considerably in the past few years. Many fuel management systems nowadays are ‘modular’ in design, making it very straight-forward to replace a part, say a pump, or a pulser. Very often the part is very easily identified and replaced by removing several bolts and replacing ‘like for like’.
So my advice to anyone who has been thinking of purchasing a tank and/or a fuel management system is that when you take into account the current market climate, falling prices of equipment and reduced operating and maintenance costs there has never been a better time to invest than now. But the opportunity won’t be there forever so take advantage whilst you can.
Joe Ferrara biography
Joe Ferrara is the sales director of Centre Tank Services (CTS) who has been servicing the tank and fuel industry with pump and fuel management equipment since 1988. Joe is a fully qualified engineer and has been in the fluid handling industry for nearly 20 years and has been with CTS for five and a half years.