Mekong Delta gas stations ask to shut down on losses

By Nguyen ANh   October 26, 2022 | 07:52 pm PT
Mekong Delta gas stations ask to shut down on losses
A gasoline station in Ninh Kieu District, Can Tho City, ran out of stock on Oct. 25, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Anh
Many gas stations in the Mekong Delta want to close down after suffering losses for a long period of time.

Le Van Thanh of Can Tho City, whose family runs three service stations, said they have incurred monthly losses of nearly VND300 million (US$12,000) due to the recent fuel shortage and cut in commissions to zero or near zero since July.

"Our family has sold fuel for over 30 years, and has never experienced such a situation before."

He said the wholesaler has not supplied enough stocks, including of A95 gasoline, for the past few months and so they could only open every other day.

"If the situation does not improve by the end of this year, small retailers like us will be forced to stop selling though that will lead to our business license being revoked."

The Mekong Taxi Joint Stock Company said it has sought permission from relevant authorities to temporarily close down its gas stations due to irregular supply of fuel and low commissions.

"Since the beginning of this year we have been losing money, and we cannot afford it any longer," the company’s Can Tho branch said, adding that the losses amounted to VND400-500 million a month.

Service stations in other Mekong Delta localities face a similar situation. Many stations along the Nam Song Hau national road from Can Tho to Hau Giang, Soc Trang and Bac Lieu provinces have shut down or hung signs saying "Out of stock."

Some are open but only sell limited quantities.

Nguyen Thi Bich Van, owner of the Nam Hung gas station in Soc Trang’s Long Phu District, said she has had to shut down for the past month because supply had become lower and lower.

A gasoline station in Cai Be District, Tien Giang Province, has a sign saying Out of gasoline, only diesel and lottery tickets left. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Anh

A gasoline station in Cai Be District, Tien Giang Province, has a sign saying "Out of gasoline, only diesel and lottery tickets left." Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Anh

"The commission currently ranges from VND30-100 per liter, not enough to cover costs, but wholesalers do not have fuel to supply us," Van said, adding that other stations nearby face the same situation as hers.

Mai Van Huy, chairman of the Nam Song Hau Trading Investing Petroleum Joint Stock Company, said market stabilization measures have basically targeted wholesalers and not agents though gasoline stations have borne the brunt of the problem.

"[Gasoline stations] might be able to withstand losses for several months, but if the situation persists how can they have enough money to do business?"

Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien told the National Assembly on Oct. 22 there has never been a fuel short supply, and supply as of mid-October was around three million cubic meters of gasoline and diesel, enough to meet demand until almost the end of November.

It is mostly in HCMC and southern provinces that gas stations have been running out of stocks and closing down, and indeed incurring losses, but there are other contributing factors, he said.

The south used to have a significant amount of smuggled and adulterated gasoline, but the smuggling has been checked in recent times, he said. Therefore, no one wants to sell fuel when commissions are low, he said.

The slump in the stock and real estate markets is another reason, he said, adding that some petroleum companies had invested in them and now do not have enough money to import fuels.

But many lawmakers insisted that the instability in the petroleum market is due to a lack of coordination between government agencies managing it.

They blamed the Ministries of Industry and Trade and Finance for failing to manage the market efficiently.

Saying that the fuel situation remains volatile, Tran Hoang Ngan, a lawmaker, said the National Assembly Standing Committee should take over management of petroleum and diesel taxes.

go to top