Holiday Season’s Fuel Crisis in Katima

Katima Mulilo was again hit by fuel shortages during the just-ended holiday season, with service station owners saying the shortages were a result of the long distance, of more than 700 kilometres, between the fuel suppliers in Grootfontein and the town of Katima Mulilo. They say fuel tankers take long to reach the town, even when fuel is ordered on time.

“We order our fuel on time but the problem is the distance from Grootfotein where we buy our fuel, of which it takes us a day to receive the fuel which causes some inconveniences to our customers. Though we have measures in place to make sure we don’t run out of fuel but it just happens,” said the acting manager of the local Puma fuel station at Katima Mulilo, John Simbali.

Katima Mulilo’s Puma Service Station fuel capacity is also not sufficient to cater for the high demand that comes with the festive season.

Gloria Tjituaiza, a supervisor at Total Service Station in Katima Mulilo, said the shortage of fuel affected the business during a period when there is high demand for fuel in the area. “The fuel depot ran out of fuel and we had no choice but to wait until they had fuel, of which they were already trucks queuing up to load and it contributed to the delays,” Tjituaiza said.

However, Wenela Shell Service Supervisor, George Mumbela, had a different story to tell. Shell Service Station at Wenela only experienced fuel shortages for about two hours during the festive season and said it was the first time that the service station experienced fuel shortage during the holiday season. Mumbela said the only problem they experienced during the festive season was the lack of experienced staff to man all the fuel pumps.

When New Era enquired how they hope to solve the matter, Simbali said they plan to have a reserve tank come next festive season, so that they cannot fall in the same hole again.

Mumbela said they would work on recruiting more staff and improve their delivery system, while Tjituaiza said currently they do not have plans.

Source : New Era