THE National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) has warned petroleum companies that Mozambican authorities might soon impose road levies on Zimbabwean fuel
tankers passing through that country from Beira due to the damage the vehicles were causing to roads.
The levy might result in petroleum product prices shooting up in Zimbabwe as distributors pass on the costs to end users.
Most of the country’s fuel imports come through Mozambique’s Beira corridor using the Feruka pipeline but small fuel distributors prefer to transport their oil products by road because the Feruka pipeline is too big and would trap small consignments.
Fuel industry experts last week said it costs US$0,06 a litre to transport fuel by the pipeline from Beira to Msasa in Harare. However, the haulage companies charged US$0,09 a litre over the same distance.
But despite lower costs incurred through the pipeline, 35% of fuels are still being transported by haulage companies.
“There is already an outcry in Mozambique that Zimbabwean vehicles are damaging their roads and very soon they might impose a levy in foreign currency,” said Noczim chief executive officer Zvinechimwe Churu during a pre-budget seminar in Harare last week.
“Smaller players can group together into big consignments and use the pipeline so that their stocks are not trapped in the pipeline,” he said.
Churu said the haulage trucks were also damaging local roads. Players in the industry said there were delays in accessing fuel brought into the country through the Feruka pipeline. There have been suggestions that government should build buffer stocks at Noczim’s Msasa reservoirs so that once companies brought their fuel through the pipeline, they could immediately access it.