Broker dismisses fuel scarcity fears

International Haulage Brokers (IHB), a local body which coordinates fuel transportation in the country, has given an assurance of continued fuel supply despite hiccups encountered at Dar es Salaam port in Tanzania.

The sentiments follow  reports that over 100 fuel tankers destined for Malawi are stuck in Tanzania amid fears that the country’s fuel importers do not have fuel volumes to dispatch to the country.

Malawi has fuel reserves owned by Nocma to ensure uninterrupted fuel supply

This development has ignited fears that there could be intermittent fuel supply in the country.

But IHB general manager, Chrispin Mussa, in an interview on Tuesday dismissed the claims.

He said: “We are actually shocked to learn that some people are spreading rumours such as these which are likely to cause panic to the nation bearing in mind that fuel is a strategic commodity.

“The incident in Tanzania is not a worrisome development and that happens from time to time. It is untrue that Malawi fuel tankers are stuck and stranded in that country. I have been there, I observed the situation and it is not as bad as it is being portrayed.”

According to Mussa, there are about 400 trucks on the Beira route in Mozambique to Malawi and 165 on the Dar es Salaam route destined for Malawi.

He said IHB has over 60 million litres in stock with 100 trucks which are yet to offload.

The country’s fuel importers—Petroleum Importers Limited (PIL), a consortium of private oil retailer and State-owned National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma)—could not be drawn to comment further on the matter, saying they do not speak on logistical challenges.

Nocma spokesperson Telephorus Chigwenembe said in an interview on Tuesday that currently their suppliers are supplying fuel and are handling all the logistical issues.

He said: “As Nocma, all our fuel supplies are going on well. We are not facing any hiccups and there are no shortfalls in our strategic fuel reserves.

“Our suppliers engage other parties as transporters. As such, if the tankers are meant to lift fuel that is supposed to go to Nocma, then it is the suppliers or their transporters that can competently comment on any logistical challenges being faced.”

On his part, PIL chief executive officer Enwell Kadango said normally, when  a truck is dispatched to collect fuel and the product is not available, they wait there, observing that IHB is best placed to answer on any logical or communication challenges.

“All matters to do with transportation are handled by IHB. It could be that maybe the fuel was not ready for dispatching; hence, the delays,” he said.

 Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) consumer affairs and public relations manager Fitina Khonje said the regulator is not aware of the development, but assured that the fuel stock levels are normal and there is no disruption in the fuel supply chain. n

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