Tuesday, May 11, 2021 at 2:11 p.m CST
Major Pipeline Compromised
As of this past Friday, Colonial Pipeline, a major fuel pipeline company, became victim of a ransomware attack. The attack caused Colonial to shut down their 5,500-mile conduit supplying gas and other fuels products from Texas to New York.
The company supplies roughly 45% of the fuel consumed on the East Coast. Areas most likely to see an impact are in the Southeast: Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Virginia and potentially Northern Florida. The duration of the outage is key to the impact to supply and prices at the pump.
In response to the attack, the Department of Transportation has issued a temporary waiver making it possible for drivers in 18 states to work additional hours if transporting fuel related products.
In response to questions about resuming operations, the Alpharetta, GA based company sad, “Colonial Pipeline is taking steps to understand and resolve this issue. At this time, our primary focus is the safe and efficient restoration of our service and our efforts to return to normal operation. This process is already underway, and we are working diligently to address this matter and to minimize disruption to our customers and those who rely on Colonial Pipeline.”
We understand the situation may be of extreme concern to you and your fleet operations. We will be posting updates as soon as they are available.
At the moment, experts advise against filling up your tank unless you have to. A sudden rush on supplies will make the situation worse and will push prices up. In the meantime, this GasBuddy blog provides additional information combined with best practices.
Friday, May 14, 2021 at 3:45 p.m CST
Navigating the Chip Shortage
The global supply of semiconductor chips is a problem for automotive manufacturers. In March of 2020, when Covid shut down the country, auto makers scaled back production. At the same time, demand for consumer electronics such as computers and gaming systems surged. Chip manufacturers met the increased demand from the consumer electronics market which already comprised 90% of their consumer base. As restrictions eased up and the market for automobiles rebounded, the chip manufacturers were unable to meet the demand.
In addition to scheduling extended down time and short term shut-downs, automotive manufacturers have resorted to building out their vehicles and parking them in on-site storage lots until the chip parts are available. We know this cascade of events and market conditions are concerning for our fleet customers.
Our Vehicle Acquisitions team compiles all of the OEM production bulletins and status events analyzing them for anything that might impact our customers. Our Customer Experience Team is then able to communicate that information out to our customers.
As status events and production dates are impacting factory ordering, more customers are looking to fulfill their vehicle needs out of dealer stock. To help minimize challenges with dealer inventory levels, we are taking action in the following ways:
- Because dealerships are no longer holding vehicles while we are pending approval, we are working to eliminate lost sales by closely monitoring all stock requests that are awaiting approvals. Our customer service team knows there is an urgency to secure approvals so that vehicles are not lost.
- We are identifying vehicles that are inbound to dealerships which delays delivery by one to two weeks but increases customers’ options.
- If we are unable to locate the requested vehicle, our team uses their familiarity with the customer to identify alternative yet comparable vehicles as options.
Brian DeLoncker, Manager of Vehicle Acquisitions, says, “While the impact of this shortage continues to be felt throughout the industry, we remain diligent in our efforts to find creative solutions that will provide our customers with the right vehicle, when they need it.”