Both DHL and the RHA have urged Grangemouth Refinery owner Ineos, the Unite union and workers at the plant, to swiftly resolve their differences and resume fuel production.

DHL, which in March took over distribution of fuel for BP from the Grangemouth refinery to airports in Scotland and northern England, said in a statement: “We are naturally concerned for the job security of our employees and encourage both sides to reach a solution to secure the long term future of the Grangemouth refinery.

“In the meantime we are working closely with our customers to ensure continuity of supply to forecourts.”

Phil Fanders, director for Scotland and Northern Ireland at the RHA, said a short term closure of the refinery would not hit operators too hard.

However as many operators no longer have bulk tanks on site, if the shutdown persisted and Scotland suffered a hard winter, it would have a significant impact on their ability to keep running.

“There are already reports of the public panic buying fuel,” he added.

Grangemouth owner Ineos, which shutdown the refinery despite Unite cancelling strike action due this weekend, said in a statement today that it would consider restarting it if employees gave an assurance of taking no industrial action for the next sixty days.

Calum Maclean, Grangemouth chairman, said: “We have been very clear that for compelling safety reasons, we cannot restart the site until we know that the risk of further industrial action has been removed.

“We can confirm that we would restart if there was a clear guarantee that there would be no further action during the next 60 days.  This would allow us to complete a full consultation process with our employees on the changes that the site so urgently needs.”

Ineos has put a survival plan to today, which it said sets out changes that are required to ensure that the loss making site “ remains competitive and worthy of further investment”.