Cargo reservation for the sake of bolstering business for local transporters has been extended to completely exclude foreign fuel tanker companies from delivering stock to end users in Zambia, the country’s Energy Regulation Board (ERB) has announced.
Although it’s not clear when the decision will take effect, Mike Fitzmaurice from the Federation of East and Southern African Road Transport Associations (Fesarta) said it was believed it would be effective from March 1.
Along with the decision to exclude foreign-registered hauliers from trucking fuel into the landlocked country, the ERB also announced that an earlier decision to suspend a dawn-to-dusk (6am-6pm) restriction on fuel transportation had been reinstated.
The Times of Zambia reported that the restriction on the movement of fuel had been eased to address stock shortages faced by the country.
A journalist for the Times, Chatula Kangali, has however quoted an ERB notice saying: “Considering that fuel stock has now normalised, we have now reverted the time and suspended the use of foreign tankers.”
The decision to indigenise the fuel tanker industry in Zambia comes just over six months after the country announced that 50% of its road freight sector would be reserved for local hauliers (read this: https://tinyurl.com/gtpli8h1).
Now, as was the case back then, the Petroleum Transporters’ Association of Zambia (PTAZ) has said cargo reservation will open the local market to more opportunities for Zambian transporters.
He told Kangali that local hauliers had been adversely compromised by competition from foreign truckers and had found themselves “pushed out of business”, in some instances even losing employment.
Fitizmaurice said PTAZ liked to say that job reservation in the transport sector was not about protectionism, but that was exactly what it was.
He warned that monopolising the fuel carriage industry in Zambia opened the door to creating a cartel environment because foreign influence was precluded from having a say in road user charges and related tariffs.
He mentioned that the same reservation measures had been implemented in Tanzania, making it impossible for foreign-registered transporters to operate in that country.
“This goes against the principles of the African Continental Free Trade Area, as it is creating protectionism for local transporters who can now set their own transportation rates which will be substantially higher than foreign transporters who can deliver at a much lower rate,” Fitzmaurice said.
“This will therefore impact on the Zambian economy in the long run by increasing the pump prices of fuel to the consumers.”