KARACHI: Oil transporters went on strike on Monday, demanding higher fares and a share in the white oil pipeline, disrupting the supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country, industry officials said.
The Oil Tankers Contractors Association (OTCA) demanded a 100 percent increase in fares for local routes and a 50 percent increase for long routes, as well as a quota from the white oil pipeline, which transports petroleum products from Karachi to other parts of the country.
Industry officials said the transporters’ strike had disrupted the operation and distribution of petroleum products significantly in the country. “We bring to your notice that the ongoing strike by oil transporters, which has resulted in a significant disruption in operations and distribution of petroleum products across the country,” Oil Companies Advisory Council (OCAC) stated in a letter to Director General Oil, Petroleum Division.
The strike has severely affected the loading of tank lorries at key terminals and depots in Karachi, where most of the country’s oil imports are handled, as well as in other regions, OCAC said.
“The loading of tank lorries has been severely affected due to the ongoing strike by the oil transporters and their unions at Port Qasim, Korangi & Keamari Terminal and Pakistan State Oil (PSO) has reported issues at these depots Jaglot and Sihala Depot, which is further exacerbating the supply chain disruptions in the northern area of Pakistan.”
The OCAC said representatives of oil marketing companies (OMCs) held a meeting to deliberate the challenges and issues they are currently facing at key terminals and depots. “Shell Pakistan informed that they faced issues at the Shikarpur depot in the morning. Although the situation is temporarily resolved, there is a risk of a recurrence. Additionally, similar problems at the Super-Highway Karachi are also being reported,” it added.
The OCAC sought the immediate intervention of the government to ensure the uninterrupted loading of tank lorries at the depots. “This will enable us to maintain a consistent and reliable supply of petroleum products to all regions and avoid any adverse consequences of shortages in the country.”
Tanker operators said they would not resume oil supply until their demands were met. “We are businessmen, and we pay taxes to the government. We remained silent for five years in the interest of the country,” OTCA President Abidullah Afridi said. “We also presented our issues to the authorities concerned. We are peaceful people and have nothing to do with rioters and vandals.”
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