By: Lamia Nabil
The Cypriot ship Victoria Monti has arrived at the Alexandria port from Italy, carrying a diesel shipment weighing 33,000 tonnes, according to MENA.
Ministry of Petroleum Undersecretary Mahmoud Nazim said that the incoming shipment from Italy will be distributed according to the daily distribution plan following the ministry’s import schedule, in order to fulfill local market needs.
Egypt has suffered from diesel shortages over the last two years, and the government has recently announced fuel prices hikes for some industrial factories.
Nazim mentioned that there are many actions that have been taken to eliminate smuggling diesel, and that the black market situation has begun to improve after more stringent controls on smuggling were effected.
The ministry has enough diesel stock for 10 days, he continued.
Nazim also pointed that the ministry is pumping some 35,000 tonnes of diesel per day into the local market, although the market needs only 30,000 tonnes daily.
Smuggling diesel has taken place in Upper Egypt, and, moreover, the ministry coordinates with the Ministry of supply and the Ministry of Interior in order to control petroleum products distribution and smuggling.
Chairman of the North Sinai Chamber of Commerce Abdallah Kandil said that Sinai is currently suffering from a diesel shortage, as well as the smuggling of diesel products and the manipulation of prices. This has negatively impacted on citizens’ needs, especially with regards to bread, as all bakeries use diesel during the bread-making process.
Kandil also added that petrol stations have become empty, and that whoever wants petroleum products will either buy them from the black market at highly inflated prices or will get them from other provinces through smuggling.
Sinai’s current, and disrupted, supplies are not adequate to fulfill citizens’ needs, he added.
Chairman of the Petroleum Division at the Cairo Chamber of Commerce Hossam Arafat also echoed this, saying that supplies are inadequate and that the ministry has to solve the problem but that current solutions will not work in the long term due to the foreign currency shortage. The ministry has to eliminate both the black market and monopoly activities, he added
According to the Consultancy, Research and Development Centre (CRDC) at Sadat Academy, fuel shortage solutions will need to improve energy efficiency by restructuring energy prices and by developing methods for institutional reform, as well as establishing a fund to finance energy consumption programmes.
A CRDC report mentioned also the importance of government consumption, expanding the uses of solar energy and wind energy, and the development of the Zaafarana and Hurgada stations, which have thus far proved “unexceptional”.