Fuel Tanker Owners Set To Withdraw Services Over Unpaid Bridging Claims

tankersA fresh fuel crisis may be looming nationwide if nothing is done to address the threat by tanker owners to stop transporting petroleum products across the country from tomorrow (Tuesday).

Over 95 percent of fuel used by Nigerians are loaded on to tankers and transported by road across the length and breadth of the country as the nations’ pipeline infrastructure remains grounded.

The bridging scheme is meant to ensure price uniformity of petroleum products in the country and is factored into the pump price of fuel.

However, a backlog of unpaid bridging claims and none reimbursement of insurance premiums by the major marketers, is threatening fuel supply as the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) gave seven days ultimatum to government to settle them or they would withdraw their services.

NARTO President, Alhaji Kassim I. Bataiya, highlighted the three major areas giving his members cause for concern: payment of the backlog of the freight rate, implementation of the approved template by the NNPC and independent marketers and reimbursement of the insurance premiums by the major oil marketers of the products already transported.

Speaking to Daily Trust yesterday, Bataiyya said that although government, through the PEF, the NNPC and the independent marketers had responded to NARTO’s calls, the major marketers were yet to react.

He said by the end of tomorrow (Tuesday) if their demands are not meant, no truck owner would lift product for them (major marketers) nationwide, until they settled the insurance claims, which he said was running into billions.