Gas stations run out of stocks, again

By Anh Minh, Thi Ha, Thu Hang   October 20, 2022 | 07:47 pm PT
Gas stations run out of stocks, again
A gasoline station in HCMC’s Go Vap District has run out of stocks and been shut down for nearly a week. Photo by VnExpress/Hong Chau
Long queues of people waiting to buy fuel may might be a thing of the past but not gas stations running out of stocks or selling in limited quantities.

On the afternoon of October 19 Ngoc stopped at a gasoline station on Thuy Khue Street in Hanoi only to be told by staff, "out of gas, only diesel left."

She went to another place nearby, but it was also out of gas.

Hung, a gasoline agent in the city’s Thanh Tri District, said in the past few days, "It has been very difficult to buy gasoline [from distributors]."

He has fuel for only two days. "Distributors’ supply is very low. Within a day gasoline at my station is sold out. I have to sell in limited quantities to customers."

HCMC too faces a similar situation after a week of fairly steady supply.

The manager of a gas station on Phan Van Tri Road, Go Vap District, said: "For the past three days we have had lower supply of gasoline. Our distributor informed us it is out of stock."

Another company which runs 17 gas stations and agencies in HCMC told VnExpress that in the past week supply met only 50% of demand. "We can only sell every other day."

Besides the insufficient supply, commissions retailers receive from wholesalers are still too low, causing them losses and to possibly go out of business.

Wholesalers and distributors announced that from October 18 the commission would be VND0-30 ($0.12 cents) on gasoline and VND100-150 on diesel. From July to early October, the commissions were VND50-100 per liter, sometimes zero.

At these levels, after adding transport costs of VND250 per liter and other overheads such as labor, electricity and water, retailers lose VND700-800 per liter.

However, Le Huynh Minh Tu, deputy director of the HCMC Department of Industry and Trade, told the media Thursday there is a partial shortage of fuel but only at some small private gas stations.

Private gas stations have to rely on wholesalers, while state-run ones have their own distribution, warehouse and transportation systems.

Wholesalers prioritize supply to distributors, agents and large gas stations within their own system.

"There are still difficulties, but not like before," Tu said.

"The Department of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Industry and Trade have tried together with businesses to ensure sufficient supply."

Some gas stations face fuel shortages because several importers like Xuyen Viet Oil Travel and Transport Trading Company have had their licenses canceled for various reasons.

"Xuyen Viet Oil Travel and Transport Trading Company used to import 100,000-200,000 cubic meters of gasoline a month," Tu noted.

The ministry said on October 19 that other reasons for the shortage include the thin global supply, higher fuel business costs, especially transport, and some wholesalers’ lack of resources.

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