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Gas Station Owners Want Larger Margin

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THE Trinidad and To­ba­go Pe­tro­le­um Deal­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion (PDA) is calling for an increase in the margins of the revenue its members are allowed to earn at the pump.

This after some of the UNIPET gas stations closed operations on Tuesday saying that it needed to scale back on operations due to high operating costs.

In a statement on Tuesday, UNIPET stated, “In an ef­fort to re­duce our op­er­at­ing costs, UNIPET and some mem­bers of the Pe­tro­le­um Deal­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (PDA) cut back their op­er­a­tions to­day with gas sta­tions sched­uled to re-open on Wednes­day Oc­to­ber 29 at 6 a.m. This is in an at­tempt to trim op­er­at­ing costs which have been se­vere­ly im­pinged by the Reg­u­la­tor not pro­vid­ing sus­tain­able mar­gins to the in­dus­try.”

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It added: “Non-UNIPET sta­tions are able to ap­proach the reg­u­la­tor to make up any short­fall in op­er­at­ing cost they may ex­pe­ri­ence but as in­de­pen­dent op­er­a­tors, there is no cov­er­age for our short­fall and we are left with no op­tion but to re­duce our op­er­a­tions. We sin­cere­ly apol­o­gize to our cus­tomers but are left with no oth­er op­tions. The fu­ture vi­a­bil­i­ty of the liq­uid pe­tro­le­um in­dus­try is in the hands of the reg­u­la­tor who has all the in­for­ma­tion with re­gard to the changes that are nec­es­sary to make the mod­el sus­tain­able.”

UNIPET ser­vice sta­tions af­fect­ed on Tuesday were San­ta Cruz, Char­lieville, Freeport, Co­corite, Ch­agua­nas and Cou­va.

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And PDA in a release stated, “Most of our mem­bers op­er­ate gas sta­tions with Sup­ply Agree­ments with the Trinidad & To­ba­go Na­tion­al Pe­tro­le­um Mar­ket­ing Com­pa­ny Lim­it­ed (NPMC).

“Un­der these agree­ments, NPMC Deal­ers are not per­mit­ted to close the sites.

“While we ful­ly un­der­stand and sup­port UNIPET’s at­tempts to have reg­u­lar­ised mar­gins, we ex­pect that all gas sta­tions will be un­der con­sid­er­able strain for the du­ra­tion of this ac­tion and ask the mo­tor­ing pub­lic to un­der­stand the con­straints un­der which we try to make fu­el avail­able to the pub­lic.”

It added: “Dai­ly, the Pe­tro­le­um Deal­ers are faced with the fi­nan­cial lim­i­ta­tions of op­er­at­ing with un­sus­tain­able mar­gins.

“Our ex­pens­es are greater than our in­come and while we are con­tin­u­ous­ly tak­ing mea­sures to re­duce ex­pen­di­ture, the mod­el it­self is un­sus­tain­able.

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“The sit­u­a­tion is that we can no longer pay for fu­el on de­liv­ery, so we are forced to take fu­el on­ly when we have the funds to pay for it.

“It means that some­times we will not be able to sup­ply prod­uct to our cus­tomers. It al­so means that some sites will be forced to re­duce their op­er­at­ing hours and staff com­pli­ments. Most NPMC Deal­ers earn around $2.50 for every $100.00 fu­el sale by cash, and around $1.10 for every $100.00 sale by elec­tron­ic cards. From this, they are ex­pect­ed to pay all their op­er­at­ing ex­pens­es.”

And the Paria Fuel Trading Company said there was no issue with the supply of fuels to gas stations across the country.

 

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