HCMC – The number of gas stations that have so far suspended operations due to a supply shortfall has risen to 121 from 54 on the previous day, said a report which the HCMC market surveillance agency released on October 10.
The 121 gas stations have run out of stock but they have not been able to either receive new supplies from fuel distributors that have limited imports because of losses. They have complained about rising losses resulting from higher operating costs and no discount from distributors, so the more they sell, the higher their losses.
By Monday night, HCMC had 15 fuel importers, 60 distributors, one general sales agent, 29 retail agents and 550 gas stations.
The operational gas stations were still open but crowded with motorcycles that came for refilling on Monday night despite heavy rain. The local media reported that some stations capped the amount of gasoline sold to each motorcycle or even declined to refill the motorcycles whose gasoline tanks were not yet low enough.
On Monday afternoon, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, which manages the operations of gas stations nationwide, issued a statement saying that there was nothing to worry about the situation as the country has 17,000 gas stations but more than 100 of them in HCMC and other provinces like An Giang, Binh Phuoc and Daklak have closed.
The statement said many fuel distributors had cut discounts for retailers to restrict big orders, which had led to losses of retailers, and that storms and floods in some parts of the country had caused fuel transport disruptions.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade proposed the Ministry of Finance consider lowering the taxes on fuels, and introduce a higher cost limit and a new premium that can help fuel distribution and retail companies to stay open.
The ministry said it had closely coordinated with the Ministry of Finance to regulate fuel prices based on global market movements, and domestic supply and demand.