Port Hamble (MDL Again) - £0.51/litre 29/04/2007

BG1

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What about us poor guys on the Thames! 59p at MDL (less 10% for berth holders) /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif You'd think they would be the cheapest with the buying power they must have.
 

Jon_Eads

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Ok – Time to enter the ‘Dragons Den’ and not wishing to “be quiet on this one”, I can give an overview on our fuel policy.

With the exception of two sites where we are tied to a local supplier due to restricted access for the fuel delivery, our fuel is supplied exclusively by Shell. Our view is that like us, you want peace of mind that the fuel you put into your boat is the best it can be and the only way for us to achieve this is to buy the best and ensure our facilities are in tip top condition. I personally want to know the fuel I put in my boat is the best available.

‘BG1’ is spot on and we do use our bulk purchasing to achieve the best price possible. However on the River Thames, we only supply Shell ‘Low Sulpher’ fuel, which we consider is the right choice environmentally within an enclosed waterway such as the Thames and it’s also better for the life of an engine. Unfortunately this is of course makes the purchase price of the fuel more expensive straight away.

To support our aims to provide the best fuel we can, we also have a policy of regularly having our fuel tested by a third party specialist laboratory so as to ensure that only the highest quality is achieved. Therefore, we have no problem with our pricing policy, as we know the fuel that is being sold today is a high quality product that we can all rely on. Can we buy cheaper fuel? Yes we can get cheaper product from elsewhere although for the reasons stated above, this is not our chosen route.

Finally, it might be worth saying a few words on fuel sales from a business point of view. It’s no secret that there is very little margin in fuel, so much so that if we were to factor into our day to day accounts our return in capital investment, the ongoing maintenance, staffing, licenses, depreciation, the amount of water space required to provide the service etc etc, it wouldn’t make good reading. Our fuel sales are there to provide a quality service to support our customers; they just don’t make sense as an individual concern.

I recognise that this may spark debate and I welcome any feedback or views as what boaters want from fuel supply. Our experience leads us to believe that boaters want quality fuel at the best price available, but I’ll stay logged on to see what you think.

Jon
 

rickp

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Jon,

I've certainly heard these arguments before but they don't convince me, I'm afraid.

Perhaps you're suggesting that everywhere that is cheaper than you somehow delivers poorer quality fuel? Certainly I've never had the dregs of a tank pumped into my boat at Lymington - whereas I've had that twice at QAB (and once after I'd phoned to check they had sufficient fuel. No, I didn't get a free night whilst I waited for a fuel delivery, hey ho).

"fuel berths aren't profitable, we'd get more for it as a normal berth" is another one thats oft repeated - but its hard to believe that you run them out of the kindness of your heart. I think its more likely that they do run at a profit (albeit small) and commercial reality is that you need to maintain them for bertholders who do not have the luxury of large tanks.

I've lots of other questions (about the cosy QAB, Brixham, Torquay price differential over the Solent) - but I'm not sure there's any point. This may be making a mountain out of a 4p/litre difference - but I think its just the start compared to what we'll see when we're on white diesel. The amount the marinas are charging on top will be very clear then.

Now if you could just stop your tennant blocking access to my berth with his dinghy on every springs weekend - then I could get to Lymmington to get some fuel. Perhaps you're not making enough profit to afford the "No Mooring" sign I've requested repeatedly....

thanks for you time anyway,

Rick
 

djefabs

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Jon
Many thanks for entering the ''Dragons Den'' it is appreciated that you read and reply to these posts.
However I cannot accept that with the buying power of MDL it cannot do much better on fuel prices. I do understand that you wish to supply the 'best' fuel but are you suggesting the other suppliers are supplying inferior fuel. Surely all fuel has to meet certain standards, therefore if you can buy fuel to a 'like for like' standard should you not be buying it?
To answer your question I want to purchase fuel at the cheapest possible price that conforms to the appropriate British Standard and I want it delivered thro' purpose made (fast) pumps in a professional manner. I feel that a further discount for quantity is also appropriate. This is why I currently use Lymington Yacht Haven which fulfils all these requirements.
 

Whitelighter

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Jon,

Once again, thank you for taking the time to reply on the forum - so many people in the industry just don't bother. So full marks there.

What I struggle with is this. I have filled up at Lymington on numerous occasions, and over the past 6 months the fuel has stayed at around £0.40 per litre (ok, so you have to take more than 300 litres but that is fine by me). The current price is still £0.40/litre for medium (300+ Litres) volume. Even less if you have a big boat. I have never had any problems with fuel taken at Lymington.

Now, I don't beleive for one second Lymington Yacht Haven are supplying fuel out of the kindness of their heart. They have the same (or similar) costs as an MDL marina - pump maintenance, H&S legislation and staffing costs. Also, the fuel is not costed on the proviso of having a mooring (permanent or visitors) unlike Premier (who at least get close to the price if you stay overnight).

All this leads me to draw the conclusion that Lymington Yacht Haven MUST be making a profit after all is said and done. Now, its your market and I don't begrudge you, or anyone else, a profit but to charge a 30% premium and offer you berth holders a 10% 'discount' is subverting the facts.
 

gjgm

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can I ask what sort of price premium are you paying over "average" fuel price in order to secure this top quality Shell product?
 

ccscott49

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Which refinery does this super shell fuel come from? Probably not one of shells refineries, just because it's in a shell tanker, doesnt make it the super duper shell product, it's naive to think shells' is any better than anybody elses fuel, I know I work in the industry. I wish SBC were here, he not only works in the industry but supplies fuel and tests it. This is directed to Mr. Eads.
 

PhilipF

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> our fuel is supplied exclusively by Shell. Our view is that like us, you want peace of mind that the fuel you put into your boat is the best it can be and the only way for us to achieve this is to buy the best <

I agree with the previous post - no difference in fuel. Also puzzled by "supplied by Shell". As far as my knowledge goes Shell only delivers to its own retailers - it will not supply final users.

There is a large haulage and plant operator locally - he would use a massive amount of fuel. But he has to obtain it from a wholesaler, not directly from the refiner. From these he would obtain quotes, but it is a standardised product - so he'd go for the cheapest! Therefore the following remark is a puzzle: "Yes we can get cheaper product from elsewhere". Might be cheaper, but not the slightest worry it might not be of the highest quality.

From what diesel costs MDL, they are making a margin of 20 to 25 per cent. So not sure I agree with this: "It’s no secret that there is very little margin in fuel".
 

Argonautical

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Having 'topped up' for the first time on Saturday, At Sparkes, I think I paid .48p per litre, less the 10% berth holder discount.

I didnt think that was too bad, but I hasten to add, have never had the benefit of 18p per litre marine diesel like some of you guys have in the past. I am new to this boating malarky, but I detect a little bit of bump it up to knock it down pricing policy going on here.

I think maybe if I were a diesel supplier, Having noted that in Novemebr 2008 we will all be paying more for it anyway........maybe a Robin Hood approach in the short term will help soften the forthcoming blow to boaters.............AND...........make me a little wealthier in the short term to boot!

jas, the philosipher /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif or howevre its flippin spelt /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif
 
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