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Hoyer UK has taken on additional staff to process the flood of applications it has received from people wanting to work as tanker drivers, following the petrol pump crisis which kicked off last week.

The company is seeking around 50 drivers and had been struggling to fill the vacancies. The fuel haulage sector as a whole is estimated to be short of approximately 500 tanker drivers and had been struggling to fill the vacancies.

However Hoyer UK is predicting the shortage could soon be over after being inundated with applications since the petrol pump crisis which it says has put the role of tanker drivers in the spotlight.

A spokeswoman told MT: “We have had a huge volume of applicants, so much so that we have had to take on extra HR staff as we are so overloaded.

“Obviously not all of those drivers can come onstream straight away with some needing training but there is definitely a demand for these jobs and so we believe the situation will settle itself, given time.”

The spokeswoman added that the widespread media coverage of the petrol pump crisis had raised public appreciation and awareness of the role of tanker drivers.

“This job has not had that level of exposure before and it has highlighted the importance of the job and also the professional sense of pride the job brings our drivers and it is also nice to see how the public has been supporting the tanker drivers in time as the importance of what they do has not really been recognised before.”

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She added that the crisis has also revealed the pay levels of tanker drivers, which have risen in the sector as demand continues to outstrip supply, with some tanker drivers being paid over £50,000 a year.

The petrol pump crisis began last week after it emerged that BP was having to close a number of its fuel stations due to the nationwide shortage of tanker drivers, prompting a spate of panic buying which saw cars queuing for miles outside forecourts and stations running out of fuel.

The shortage reached such a pitch that the government was forced to launch Operation Escalin, a national contingency plan originally created during Brexit to protect the UK’s supply chains.

This is the first time Operation Escalin has been deployed. It saw 200 troops, including 100 who are trained tanker drivers, brought in this week to help five fuel hauliers, including Hoyer, deliver fuel to forecourts.

Under the strategy, Hoyer UK has been assigned 60 military drivers, who have all had to complete company training first with Hoyer UK driver training instructors before they could be deployed this week.

The training was a refresher course for the drivers who had trained with Hoyer UK previously as part of contingency planning ahead of Brexit.

The troops are driving a mix of Hoyer UK tankers and vehicles from the government's reserve tanker fleet.

The government is also attempting to encourage European tanker drivers to fill some of the skills gaps by offering 300 emergency visas for European tanker drivers, although only 27 applicants had taken up the offer yesterday.