Should fuel prices fall, the levy would be scrapped

Nisa is set to charge retailers for the cost of fuel on some deliveries as it grapples with the impact of rising costs.

The Grocer has seen a communication from the retail group sent to its retailers this month informing them of the charge, which is set to come in next month.

In it, Nisa cited the “combined impact of Brexit, Covid-19, driver and raw material shortages, and in particular fuel and shipping cost increases” which it said had “resulted in a significant rise in operating costs for all UK businesses”.

It claimed Nisa had largely been absorbing these costs but following a review of its service model “from week five, deliveries will be subject to a fuel levy when fuel prices rise above a pre-agreed level. This will be an amount of £4.88 per delivery, invoiced weekly, retrospectively, in the same way as the low and no order levies.”

Should fuel prices fall, the levy would be scrapped, it added. The last time petrol prices were this high was 2012.

Nisa also said it planned to stop making frozen deliveries on Saturdays from the second quarter of this year. It said frozen volume was at its lowest level on Saturdays but that it took up space in its vehicles and thus created extra delivery routes.

“Stopping Saturday freeze deliveries will improve efficiencies and increase the reliability of deliveries made,” the memo continued.

Nisa also said it was reinstating banded time windows for deliveries to store in response to requests from retailers.

“These changes will enable us to provide a more consistent and sustainable service for our partners, despite the changes in the macro economy, and we wanted to let you know in advance, so you have time to plan,” it said.

“Our partners are the lifeblood of our business, and it is our intention to continue supporting your independence while being an all-weather partner to you. Thank you for your loyalty and for what you have done for your customers and communities through these testing times.”

One Nisa retailer said: ”Nisa already has hefty surcharge levys in place for retailers, now it wants to introduce a fuel levy, this is total nonsense. It has benefited exponentially during the past two years where the volumes and profits have rocketed, this is just getting a foot in the door for another revenue stream/”