fuel level indicator in reserve, without fuel. Fuel empty.
The chairman of the Price Tribunal says the shortage of petrol on Rarotonga is ‘inevitable’ under the current supply model, and will continue to be so until changes are made.
The issue has been
ongoing since Tuesday, where suppliers Toa and Triad Petroleum reported they
have been out of petrol.
It has been the
second time in two months that Rarotonga has gone without petrol in several
Enoka, chairman of Price Tribunal which regulates fuel prices in the Cook
Islands, said it was inevitable that such shortages would happen and will
continue to happen unless the distribution model changes.
“Business as usual
is no longer business as usual,” Enoka told Cook Islands News.
“It’s a loading
issue, simple as that. There just isn’t the right amount of supply arriving
into the Cook Islands.”
Enoka said it had
been aware of the situation for “several weeks” and had been discussing with
the stakeholders ways to address it.
of the current tanktainer model needs to be looked at, because currently it
just seems to not be working from a supply perspective,” he said.
whether the stakeholders would consider a “tank farm” model, Enoka said it was
an “interesting concept”, but “currently, we’re not in a financial position to
do anything like that”.
“In a perfect
world, something like that would be considered,” he said.
Enoka said the
aftereffects of Covid-19, which “destroyed” the supply chain model, were still
being felt across the board.
“We’re at the very
end of the supply chain and we have to wear it. There isn’t much we can do
under the current model. It simply is what it is,” he said.
In the November
price order, the maximum allowable price for petrol in Rarotonga was set at $3,
a drop of $0.39 from the September price order.
Enoka said he
“couldn’t say” whether people taking too much advantage of the reduced prices
was a factor in the supply running out.
“I just don’t have
the numbers with me,” he said.
owner Brett Porter said on Thursday that the next ship carrying fuel is likely
to arrive this weekend, and fuel should be ready for consumers by Tuesday.
will contain enough petrol for two weeks’ supply on the island, but because
there has been this shortage, and everyone will be filling up, I predict it
will last about five days,” Porter said.
“Then we’ve got
another shipment carrying another two weeks’ supply of petrol, and that has to
last us almost a month, as there will be a late arrival of the next shipment.
“This is an issue
in the national interest. Something needs to be done, and fast, because
otherwise running out of supply will become the norm.”
Porter said it did
not hold reserves at the moment, because to buy in bulk exposed them to too
much risk on the international market.
“As a result,
we’ve been working on a ‘just in time’ model,” he said.
“We took a major
hit when prices spiked in June and July.”
Porter said Toa
Petroleum wanted to consolidate its volume with Te Aponga Uira to better
utilise the local coastal tankers.
Triad owner Chris
Vaile did not respond to questions but issued a paid notice (see page 4) blaming
Toa Petroleum for the crisis.