RIL To Offer IT-enabled Services At Petrol Pumps

Mumbai, Nov 16: | Updated: Nov 17 2003, 05:30am hrs
Convenient stores and take-away food joints are passe at petrol pumps. Information technology-enabled services could be the next bait. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), which is making its foray into retailing of petroleum pumps next year, is contemplating offering a host of IT-enabled services at its petrol pumps.

Industry sources said the services would be particularly helpful for fleet owners to keep a track of the movement of their vehicles and, in turn, improve efficiency. By connecting its chain of petrol pumps, the vehicle owners will be able to trace their vehicles and also issue orders to the truck drivers, said a source.

Sources said the IT services provided at the petrol pumps will be very simple to handle as a majority of the truck drivers may not be technology-savvy. Sources said RIL is still deliberating on what nature of services in the IT arena could be offered to the consumers at the petrol pumps.

Public sector oil companies, which are already into the retailing business, are offering a range of facilities, which include coffee and pizza joints, grocery stores, smart card and co-branded debit cards and ATMs. For Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), the petro bonus card and the smart fleet card account for a turnover of Rs 2,000 crore.

RIL vice-chairman and managing director Anil Ambani, at a press conference recently, stated that Reliances entry into marketing will enable it to achieve downstream integration, and enhance overall return on capital. He added that the entry into retail marketing will provide direct access to the consumer, reducing dependence on government oil companies. This will help the company increase margins, as the company will be able to redirect surplus into the domestic market.

RIL has announced setting up 5,800 retail outlets all over the country, of which 1,500 will be set up in the first phase. The company plans higher throughput per outlet compared to the existing industry average.