Oil marketers are counting losses after transporters who operate from depots in industrial area went on strike to protest an attempt by the city council of Nairobi to charge them two thousand shillings parking fees per truck per day.
The Kenya Independent Petroleum Dealers Association chairman Joseph Karanja says they have kept their tankers off the depots until an agreement is reached between them and the council.
"We have repeatedly asked the council to designate parking space for the trucks but they have not and now they want to charge us for waiting our turn outside the depots which we will not accept" Karanja said "Our protest will paralyze supplies in almost a half of the country"
The city council issued a notice that effective 7th of November 2012 all oil tankers parked along Nanyuki road in industrial where the petroleum depots are situated will have to pay or be clamped.
More than 1500 oil tankers which ferry oil petroleum products into the south rift, Mount Kenya region and northern Kenya as well as eastern province were grounded yesterday causing fears among marketers that it could cause supply disruption across the country.
KenolKobil chief executive David Ohana says if not quickly solved their outlets will start experiencing shortages. "The transporters have blocked our depots and we can do nothing, meaning that the 1.5 million litres of fuel lifted on a daily basis cann not move," Said Ohana
The tankers owned by individuals and private companies are leased by major oil marketers and independent dealers, while others are hired on a day to day basis to transport the commodities to various towns.
"We have been affected badly by the strike" said Solomon Osundwa, the commercial director at Hashi Energy. "we are yet to quantify the actual loss, but on average we move around 800,000 litres. Transporters said they will incur losses if they are forced to pay the council fees at the prescribed rates.
"The council needs money to run the city, but this is too much and we are not willing to pay because they are squeezing us out of business which has already been hurt by low profit margins as a result of state supported retail price caps ," said a transporter.
According to the dealers association chairman Joseph Karanja, the council did not consult them to understand their side of business before imposing the fees.