As autumn begins to pinch, this is when we as a nation (or the high street retailers at least) begin counting down to Christmas. Santa’s delivery supply chain while impressive only covers one day of the year whereas we’ll have to keep fuel flowing over the whole Christmas period and beyond, but I’m sure we’re all looking ahead in anticipation to the weeks to come.

There is another countdown going on which is just as unmissable: that of Brexit. With less than six months until the UK leaves the European Union and still relatively little certainty to which we can cling beyond March 2019, it is a worry for me and many of you, I am sure.

Providing that the government can ensure adequate access to key markets for goods; can minimise uncertainty as far as possible; and continues to work with us in industry, then we have the best chance to keep fuels flowing but there is work still to do.

The government’s 100 or so published Technical Notices have given some clues as to what to expect and, from a fuel supply side, it’s worth thinking hard about what we can do to help keep fuels moving, especially as the border procedures (Customs and REACH) may need to be reconsidered. There are many other impacts that will no doubt be part of your planning too but year in, year out we meet the challenge of keeping customers happy and I’m sure Brexit will be no different.

In UKPIA we have another countdown, which is towards our Future Vision for the downstream fuels sector that we will publish next year.

Regardless of Brexit, there are huge questions we need to face up to and we want to show that there is a positive future for our industry if we grab it. We will demonstrate just how important we are today, prove that we are needed tomorrow, and are already adapting to the challenges to come. We will show the sector for what we are: a positive, technologically-advanced and forward-looking contributor to UK plc.