The success of the national fuel industry, like most major Australian industries, is heavily dependant on the operation of efficient and effective supply chain operation.

At its most basic level, that means transporting fuel from the point of manufacture (whether domestic or international) to the more than 42,000 pumps located on the forecourts of the nation’s 7300 fuel retail sites in the most efficient and effective manner possible.

Further, this task must be managed in a way that does not result in surplus storage of fuel and nor is it acceptable for sites to ‘run dry’.

Increasingly, the fuel distribution task is not simply about optimising the movement of fuel around economic objectives. Our industry is increasingly expected to transport fuel in a manner that is both safe to the public and minimises the risk of environmental harm.

The community’s expectations in all these areas are continually changing. This change is bringing an increasing range of regulatory and reporting requirements in areas like Chain of Responsibility (CoR), which is imposing continual change on distribution operations.

“ACAPMA is deeply involved with government policymakers and regulators in all of these areas given the substantial impact on fuel transport operations (and our member businesses) across Australia”, said ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie

But the challenge and change doesn’t stop there.

The likely introduction of autonomous vehicles, the utilisation of big data for automating logistics operations, and the digitisation of financial transactions between supply chain participants (i.e. Block Chain) are expected to fundamentally change the architecture of supply chain systems – and with it, bring changes in the skills needed by those working in supply chain.

So, what are the skills that are needed for the future?

And how do we improve the skills of those currently working in fuel distribution to the point that they are well positioned for the changes that are likely to come?

These and other issues have been the subject of strategic consideration by the national Supply Chain Project Reference Group (PRG) – a cross sectoral industry committee operating under the umbrella of the Australian Industry Skills Framework.

This national framework is managed by all Australian Governments – and led by the Commonwealth – under the Coalition of Australian Governments (COAG) mechanism. The mechanism comprises more than 70 Industry Reference Committees (IRC’s) – representing specific industry segments – to ensure that occupational standards (used for apprenticeships, traineeships, enterprise training and regulatory licencing) are “fit for purpose” with contemporary workforce demands.

“ACAPMA has long participated in this work and currently chairs both the Transport and Logistics Industry Reference Committee (IRC) and the Supply Chain PRG given the strong stake that the fuel industry has in the transport of dangerous goods”, said Mark

Given our understanding of this work, we strongly encourage fuel distributor and fuel wholesale businesses to visit the project website and provide input to this vitally important agenda.

Further information about the project and a link to the strategy work is provided in this short video (see

“We strongly encourage our distribution member businesses to take a quick look at this project website and provided their thoughts on the strategies that have been identified to address the changing needs of the supply chain workforce”, said Mark