Security and the Final MileWed, 01/18/2017 - 16:09
The fuel distribution and storage business is set to receive a boost as the fuel market opens to foreign imports and investment on the heels of the Energy Reform, but international firms breaking into this market will be put off completely from attempting the last mile of fuel distribution due to the risk, complexity and bureaucracy involved. That, says veteran Mexican player F. Ruiz e Hijos, is an opportunity.
The company, with more than 70 years of experience, is ready to reap the benefits of this inherent knowledge of the industry in an increasingly large market for domestic distribution of hydrocarbons, says Director General Alberto Valdivieso.
F. Ruiz e Hijos, founded as a family-owned operation in 1935 to fill a niche as a distributor of fuels for personal use, has enjoyed growth centered on delivery and storage of industrial fuels like diesel and bunker fuel, spanning industries from transportation to medical services, construction, manufacturing and oil-well drilling. Valdivieso anticipates that incoming companies will give the risky last-mile journey into F. Ruiz e Hijos’ hands based on its experience and knowledge.
The company executive also highlights F. Ruiz e Hijos’ involvement in fuel storage as a distinct advantage in the new-look market. The company, he says, “is one of the few in the market that offers open access storage. It is something we do very well.”
The Mexican business manages a fleet of ground tankers for fuel transportation and also provides storage facilities at its Mexico City plant. “Our location is strategic. Being in the center of the city, we can distribute fuel all over easily,” says Valdivieso. He believes this advantageous location of the company’s main facilities in the center of Mexico’s vast capital city could hold the key to unlocking the new diesel market. “Mexico City is the most important market for fuel in Mexico, due to its size,” he says. The main difficulties in fuel transport and storage do not come from the distances between facilities but from the complexities involved in the bureaucracy of distribution, he says.
F. Ruiz e Hijos also hopes to appeal to new foreign companies with its special focus on safety and security during fuel distribution. “We take two courses per year centering on civil protection and industrial safety” he says. “Our goal is zero spills.”
As well as keeping its staff up-to-date on safety procedures, the company enhances safety and security technologically. Its SCI Level Shield technology keeps its clients informed on the fuel levels in their storage tanks and allows them to monitor the date and time any fuel has been extracted. This not only promotes security against fuel theft but also allows companies to plan their orders in advance to avoid running out of fuel, increasing efficiency and reducing downtime. Sensors attached to tanker trucks en route to the delivery destination offer further security. The sensors carefully monitor deposits and extractions, immediately flagging any unauthorized activity
These value adds are part of F. Ruiz’s overall business strategy. “We do not want to be the cheapest option. We want to offer services with the most added value,” Valdivieso says. The company is not only looking to fulfill the final mile of distribution but to also go the extra mile for its clients, Valdivieso adds.