No fuel shortages on the island
While in some parts of the mainland a shortage of fuel has been reported, San Pedro Town still counts with a good supply. Caribeña Enterprises, which distributes fuel on the island, advises residents not to be concerned as they have enough in stock, and more is being barged from the mainland.
A company representative shared that they are not running low on fuel and motorists should not panic. This means that there is no need for anyone to hoard fuel. There is enough, and as every week, barges are expected to continue transporting fuel to the island, decreasing the probabilities of any shortage.
The alarming situation prompted a statement from the Belize Retail Service Station Association. They said that for unknown reasons, the fuel delivery was delayed. According to the association, the situation proved the need for urgent action and resolution against the lack of public information from the Government of Belize and the fuel importer PUMA. “We, dealers, are committed to creating a seat at the table to provide an outlet for the public’s fuel-related concerns as well as to help in coming up with solutions that will better serve us all,” part of the statement said. The association pointed out that such issues need immediate attention and should not occur again.
Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun
PUMA ENERGY PROVIDES UPDATE ON THE GASOLINE SUPPLY AVAILABILITY IN THE COUNTRY
Belize City May 25',2021 Puma Energy is committed to ensure the availability of product in every country we operate. Due to weather conditions in the Gulf last week supply to the country was delayed. Since then, and through the weekend product was supplied overland by truck.
Unfortunately, the weather events of this past weekend were heightened by 'panic buying' that led to low reserves on most of the service stations country wide. Gasoline supplies are being replenished today, Tuesday May 25, 2021 to service stations country wide. The tanker is expected to arrive tomorrow Wednesday and deliver its cargo, with product supply normalized by Thursday May 27, 2021.
Puma Energy remains committed to ensure reliable supply of high-quality fuel products to our customers in Belize. We urge customers to resume their usual buying patterns, as the situation is returning to normal.
Belize was gripped by a fuel shortage today - and tonight many gas stations remain without premium and regular fuel.
The rumours of an impending fuel shortage started circulating this weekend - and this morning as gas stations really started to run out of gas, Belize a full fledged panic set in. Cherisse Halsall was out there to see it at Freetown Gas Station:
I'm here at Puma Freetown, they say it's the only service station with Premium and Regular fuel in the city, and the lines are long and growing, most buying because they need, others buying out of panic because they don't know how long the shortage will last.
"I've never seen anything like this, never, ever."
"This type of shortage."
"Never, ever and it's so ironic because the only station that has is Johnny's gas station, this is crazy miss."
"What do you mean by Johnny Gas station, the Prime Minister's?"
"The Prime Minister's gas station is the only gas station with gas, that's craziness. You know how many people call me for a taxi already, and that's because I don't have any gas. Nobody woke up this morning expecting this, this is craziness miss."
"We're just filling up our vehicle, you know. I just found out that they got gas so We're just trying to get some."
And by this afternoon Puma had issued a press release assuring customers that the situation is already returning to normal.
They say that this morning's shortage was caused by a combination of bad weather and long weekend panic buying.
Financial Secretary Joe Waight agreed this morning when he said that "PUMA is loading bowsers at the terminal and that some are already on their way to the districts and to service stations in Belize City...PUMA expects the situation to return to normal by this afternoon."
But the fuel dealers put it slightly differently. They say "This occurrence has proved once again the need for action and resolution against the lack of Public information from the government and the importer dealers have not been consulted in coming up with measures directed towards mitigating the effects of public panic during times like these."
So, these lines will be gone by the time you see this newscast, but the next question is at what price will the new shipment be retailed - if it's higher, it may have been worth the time for all these folks to fill up on the old stock.
So, as you heard, there are three narratives coming out of the fuel crisis. Government is saying that PUMA is normalising supply and that things were already returning to normal this afternoon. PUMA is saying that first, the tanker ship did not come in due to bad weather in the Gulf of Mexico, which was then aggravated by panic buying. But, they too say that supplies were starting to be normalised this afternoon by trucks coming overland in advance of the tanker ship which arrives tomorrow. So, basically both of them are saying, everything's gonna be just fine.
But, then on the other hand you have the The Belize Retail Service Station Association - these are basically gas station owners. They say no one has communicated with them and fuel delivery was delayed, quote, "For reasons unknown to (them)." They add, saltily, quote, "The BRSSA dealers have not been consulted in coming up with measures directed towards mitigating the effects of public panic during times like these." End quote.
Reliable sources tell us some stations are still not getting a clear indication on when regular and premium will be delivered, and that PUMA had been rationing fuel for two weeks to non-Puma stations.
Fuel Shortage Causes Panic Buying
There were long lines, honking horns and chaos at service stations from north to south today, as the shortage of fuel saw almost everyone who owns a vehicle heading straight for the gas pump. The scarcity of gasoline brought on by inclement weather last week in the Gulf Coast saw demand for fuel skyrocketing overnight in Belize. Despite assurances this morning from the Financial Secretary that relief supplies were on the way, this noon delivery did little to alleviate the problem. Reporter Isani Cayetano was out in Ladyville and Belize City today.
Isani Cayetano, Reporting
Across the country today, thousands of motorists were forced to endure long lines at various service stations where fuel was being rationed by gallon. The shortage of petrol led to consumers rushing over to the nearest gas stations to refuel. When they got there, they weren’t allowed a full tank. Instead, they were informed that the issue would be normalized by midday.
Lizette Armstrong, 100 Service Station
“Since morning, once they knew we had a few gallons of gas this morning, it was very hectic. After that we didn’t have so it died down and now we just got gas a few minutes ago and, as you can see, it’s quite busy.”
Despite receiving a supply of fuel at noon, service stations in other parts of Belize City shuttered their operations shortly thereafter as they had run out of gas. In a release issued by Puma Energy, the sole importer of gasoline in Belize, the scarcity is attributed to weather conditions in the Gulf of Texas last week that directly affected the supply to Belize. Panic buying only exacerbated an already bad situation.
Linda Montero, Manager, Shell One Stop
“The demand, as you know, is not only the country of Belize, it’s something happening worldwide and we’re just feeling a little bit of it, you know, and the demand is there, of course, as a gas station. The line, it’s not been that bad, you know, because we have been rationing it out to the customers, not selling large amounts, you know, rationing it up so everybody can get a little.”
Today’s allocation is not enough to cover the overwhelming demand as evidenced by the long lines outside of 100.
“No, it’s not going to suffice. All I can say is that I doubt very much [that] it’s going to suffice.”
“When we look around at other service station across Belize City, some have refueled earlier as well and they too have closed down because the demand for fuel seems extremely high today.”
“Yes, that’s true, very high and of course we don‘t have [enough].”
“How are you guys managing the long lines out here?”
“We have good workers, efficiency. As you can see, we are a new gas station and we’re very efficient in dealing with our customers. So I think we are doing it good.”
This afternoon, the Belize Retail Service Station Association fired off a release of its own, highlighting the need for action against the lack of public information from government and Puma Energy since the B.R.S.S.A., too, was not consulted in respect of dealing with a crisis situation of this kind. At Shell One Stop, the demand for regular gasoline which presently stands at ten dollars and ninety-five cents, outweighs the quantity that’s available.
“The demand is always high for regular, always high. We just received a load and that’s what we’re issuing right now.”
“How long do you think that load will last?”
“I could say about probably by the end of today and tomorrow morning.”
“Then what happens after that, I mean it’s a situation where the supplier isn’t providing the fuel in a timely enough manner, then what happens next?”
“Well we’ve been promised that we will get on Thursday morning, so I think it will ease up. They will find a solution.”
The limited supply that was provided by Puma today is only to hold over until the tanker arrives and discharges its cargo by Thursday. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.