Certifying Fuel Quality, Guaranteeing Fuel SupplyBy Pedro Alcalá | Wed, 03/03/2021 - 10:01
Q: What has been your experience with CIEFSA and AMPES?
A: My path in the industry has been a little unusual. I started right out of college working as a supplier for fuel service stations. After graduation, I become increasingly focused on analysis of fuels, product development and differentiation among fuels. This led me to establish CIEFSA in 2017. During that time, I became part of AMPES and a year later, I was elected president. Since then, communication with clients who manage fuel service stations has been constant. We have organized two major industry events that were sold out. For sanitary reasons, the pandemic has led us to rely on digital platforms to organize these gatherings, like our ‘Expogas Virtual’ series of events. We have been able to keep our communication channels open with service station owners and managers through these expos.
Q: What are some of the most remarkable ways in which the fuel retail sector has adapted to the conditions imposed by the pandemic?
A: One of our main strengths has been our ability to transcend localization. Prior to the pandemic, the fuel retail sector was extremely reliant on not just location but the broader concepts of locality and localization. There were overwhelming physical and geographical aspects to the relationship between service station managers and their suppliers. Our members were concerned that the pandemic would terminate new business, since their relationships with their customers migrated to a remote modality that their standing business practices could not support. In that sense, we are proud to have switched to digitalized platforms. As we enter the second year of the pandemic, digitalization is extremely common in all industries, since it has been accelerated by these circumstances. Nevertheless, the process of adopting these practices was much more complicated for us. Regulators like ASEA, PROFECO, DGN and COFECE, along with major players in our markets, such as PEMEX, have joined us and praised our adoption of these new practices and digital information-sharing protocols.
Q: How does CIEFSA support emerging brands in Mexico’s growing fuel retail sector?
A: While the fuel retail sector continues to open to more brands and competition, CIEFSA maintains quality standards throughout the fuel product lines that brands introduce. This provides the sector with a sturdier basis for investment, growth and expansion and customer satisfaction. Some service station managers’ operations are backed up by enormous global corporations, such as Shell or Exxon Mobile, providing them with the capital and infrastructure to support their own quality-control procedures. This might even be true for larger national players like G500. Our concern is with the independent players, the smaller upstarts that might be managing just a single service station. When they buy their fuel supply from the open market, which is no longer just PEMEX and is presumably only going to get broader as more and more storage and distribution projects come online, we need to help provide assurances in regard to what they are buying. We need to make sure they are buying what they think they are buying, meaning that what the seller has labeled as being true about the product actual is true. This will become crucial as Mexican fuel consumers become more discerning of the type of fuel they use, moving beyond PEMEX’s “magna or premium” model that encompasses a universe of branded fuel products.
Mexican Association of Service Station Suppliers (AMPES) is an industry association that coordinates the interests of manufacturers and distributors of equipment and technologies used by Mexican fuel service stations.
CIEFSA is a Mexican laboratory established in 2017 to certify the compliance of fuels offered in the Mexican market to the latest quality norms, regulations and specifications.