Thanks to Tom Stroud at The Chamber of Commerce for a fantastic interview with David Grannum, General Manager here at Isle of Wight Fuels.
“Isle of Wight Fuels is here for the long term and we take our responsibility to the Island very seriously.”
That’s the message from David Grannum, General Manager at Isle of Wight Fuels, based in East Cowes on the bank of the River Medina. The terminal has been here for more than 60 years and stores up to 3 million litres of petrol, diesel and kerosene. It’s the Island’s only fuel and oil storage terminal, with up to 2 million litres of fuel arriving by ship every week. The fuel is then delivered by tanker from Kingston Road to supermarkets, the farming market and customers like Hovertravel and Island Roads.
“We are a wholesaler and distributor at the same time,” David explains. “We would definitely like to deliver more of our product direct to the end user.”
A former BP terminal, Isle of Wight Fuels is now owned by Malthurst Retail Holdings, a parent company that operates petrol stations across the country. David has been here since 2012, with a background in fuel for the last twenty years, including retail and distributing Texaco fuels in the south east region. MRH has invested considerably in the East Cowes terminal, allowing the business to grow and prosper.
“The Islands Terminal had been left to fend for itself in the past,” David says. “We invested a lot in in the infrastructure, including spending £350,000 on the jetty to secure the fuel berth and ensure that we could remain as a ship-fed terminal, accommodating the type of ships that we needed. We also invested a lot in Health and Safety. We have a rigorous tank safety programme to make sure that all of our fuel is stored safely and our tanks are regularly tested, including investing £250,000 in our biggest tank. Fuel is highly volatile so it’s critical that we operate safely and securely.”
Contrary to popular belief there is no pipeline connecting the Island to the mainland. Isle of Wight Fuels have recently chartered a larger ship, which brings supplies from Immingham, near Hull, each week.
“It’s a 36 hour journey to bring the fuel here and shipping is our biggest cost. We have offset some of the costs by securing other clients in Jersey and Shoreham. That’s been a significant change.
“I’m also proud that with Esso we were able to bring a premium brand back to the Island, as well as a premium diesel grade. It’s a strong brand that Island motorists know and trust. We were able to provide Esso fuel because of our improvements at the terminal.”
David’s team includes five drivers and five road tankers, including two new petroleum tankers. He’s also growing the team, having recruited a new Operations Supervisor and created a new Sales and Marketing position. It’s all part of a drive to ensure even better customer service and to ensure the longevity of the business, which is important for everyone.
“Without fuel at East Cowes the Island would grind to a halt,” David says. “Without this terminal the Island would have to rely on seven or eight tankers every day, bringing fuel over on the ferry routes, which would be a big problem logistically. We’re an Island business. We are investing in our people and our future to make sure that Isle of Wight Fuels remains profitable and therefore the Island is stocked up with fuel for the foreseeable future.”