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KARACHI:
The All Pakistan Oil Tankers Contractors Association (APOTCA) has announced to go on strike to suspend petroleum products' supplies nationwide from Thursday (today) morning for an indefinite period.

The strike may lead to a shortage of petroleum products at fuel pumps, as they receive the supplies through the oil tankers from oil marketing companies' (OMCs) depots established in some cities across the country.

"There are rumours in circulation that we have called off the strike which is untrue," All Pakistan Oil Tankers Contractors Association President Abidullah Afridi told The Express Tribune.

"We would remain on strike until our demands are fully met," he added.

He also said that the oil tankers contractors and owners have invested billions of rupees to upgrade their vehicles to transport oil supplies from Karachi to the upcountry.

However, the OMC has laid White Oil Pipeline from Karachi to Punjab to transport oil to the upcountry.

"We demand 50% quota in the White Oil Pipeline (WOP), meaning the oil marketing companies should dispatch 50% supplies through roads and rest of the 50% through the pipeline," Afridi said.

The OMCs were dispatching some 60% diesel supplies through the pipeline. The rest of the supplies were being supplied through tankers, it was learnt.

Besides, the pipeline was also being upgraded to transport petrol (motor gasoline) as well. Updates related to this were unavailable at the time of filing this story.

Petrol pumps usually stock oil for 2-3 days in Karachi. While it takes some four to five days to transport oil through tankers to the upcountry.

The association president went on to say that all the associations engaged in oil supplies to the upcountry are part of the strike, including the oil tankers owners' association.

There are some 15,000 tankers engaged in supplying petroleum products nationwide.

Among other demands were cut in rate of taxes on transportation of oil and fixation of queue system at oil storage facilities, he said.

"The government had promised to cut rate of tax on us to 2% in the budget (for FY-22) from 3%. However, the rate of tax has remained unchanged at 3%," he said.

Moreover, there is a need to fix queue system at oil storage facilities. At present, those tankers which belong to influential people are given priority in filling their tankers while others have to wait for comparatively longer duration, he said.

OMCs officials earlier said that the oil tankers would never become irrelevant in the oil supply chain. They would continue to supply oil to petrol pumps from depots being built nationwide. However, their role may confine within cities from one city to another city at present.

Moreover, 100 per cent oil is not supplied through the pipelines. So they would still continue to remain part of supplies from Karachi to other cities.

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