Perishable goods worth millions of Ghana Cedis are likely to rot at the Kotoka International Airport if authorities fail to restore normal supply of aviation fuel.
The aviation industry has been grappling with aviation fuel shortage for some weeks now.
Citi Business News
has gathered business operators who export perishable goods have had their goods grounded for a week now due to the shortage.
International airlines have put on hold the transportation of cargo and in some cases take on very limited amounts of cargo in order to re-fuel in neighbouring countries.
Logistics Manger for beverage producer, Blue Skies, Reginald Ashitey whose company last week alone lost 500,000 pounds due to the shortage told Citi Business News
company may run into loses if the situation is not rectified anytime soon.
“Blue Skies are perishables and they have a shelf life on them because they are natural, with no preservatives. If we are not able to send it today for it to hit the supermarket the next day, what it means is that the customer will not take it, therefore we’ll lose those consignments for not supplying.”
He continued saying, “today all the airlines are telling us that they are getting to the office before they get back to us. But from the little intelligence I have gathered, it doesn’t look bright. On a weekly basis we do about a million pounds.
But as I speak to you now, the whole of last week, we have lost more than 500,000 pounds and customer information coming in shows that we will be fined for non supply.”
Mr. Ashitey further stated that the situation is distressing as authorities are not forthcoming with information on the matter and “we are not able to ship all our consignment to our customers in Europe. Yesterday for instance on British airways, we booked for 10 tonnes, we were only given 6 tonnes. Emirates airlines, we booked 7 tonnes, they offloaded all our cargo. KLM is also facing the same fate, and this is really costing us a lot.”
He explained that his outfit flies “about 20 containers to Europe on a daily basis, and as I speak now, we fly just 5 and there are one or two occasions where we are being helped by British airways and KLM who are able to take about 6 or 7 containers for us. So all this 13 - 14 containers, we are not able to fly them just because there is shortage of aviation fuel in the system. You will be told next week, when it gets to that week, nothing happens.”
The company is competing on global platforms and so according to him, “if you come from a sector where information is very limited and out there they have the facilities to compete with you on those grounds, then you are out-competed.”
Some industry players had early on attributed the shortage to the inability of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) to supply enough fuel from bulk distributor companies as well as reductions in the quantity of fuel supplied to Ghana by Togo.
But the Managing Director of TOR, Ato Ampiah told Citi Business News
he expects the situation to normalize soon as TOR commences operations.
“TOR is well known to be efficient and reliable in the supply of ATK aviation fuel.
In fact we are one of the few African refineries to have fueled the air-force one.
We have done that on few occasions and that is done after stringent tests and so forth.”
He indicated that Aviation fuel is not easy to come by and “so when we are not producing that means we are importing. Let me say that TOR does not import finished product into this country. We are in control of what we produce so now that we coming back we think that the aviation fuel shortage situation if could not be solved in our absence could be normalized upon our return.”
By: Vivian Kai Mensah/citifmonline.com/Ghana