Mumbai: Reliance Petroleum Ltd (RPL) is planning to enter the retail business by setting up outlets along the national highways to cater to the needs of truckers.
The company has begun acquiring land along the national highways across the country for the purpose. Already, it has acquired 150 sites each admeasuring about 3 acres on which it plans to set up diesel pumps and one-stop shops for truckers.
The company is aiming at setting up 2,000 outlets in the next four-to-five years with a view to covering the north-south and east-west axis of the highways. The idea is to set up an outlet every 200 km.
The company will be able to make operational the 200 outlets immediately after the government opens the retailing of diesel and petrol for the private sector.
The government is believed to have cleared RPL's application for setting up the outlets before the deadline for pricing deregulation, following the recommendations of an oil ministry panel which suggested allowing private players time to prepare in advance.
RPL is reported to have begun negotiations with major tyre manufacturers and transporters for collaborating with it in the retail business.
The company has already done a market research on the needs of the truckers all along the highways.
Besides selling diesel, the outlets would offer tyre services and have food outlets, washrooms and a complete logistics management system. JK Tyres, Apollo Tyres and MRF are reported to have evinced interest in collaborating with the RPL on the project.
RPL currently sells cooking gas, petrol, kerosene and diesel from its Jamnagar refinery to public sector oil companies at prices determined by the Centre's oil coordination committee based on the principle of import parity.
RPL has been asking the government for higher offtake of its products, which the government has turned down. The company's latest move will ensure a captive market for its key product.
RPL already has a marketing tie-up with Indian Oil and is one of the bidders for IBP. In case it comes out the winner, RPL will control the 1,500 outlets of the oil-retailing PSU, which has about 5 per cent market share.