SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA – September 3rd, 2012 – Gasoline carriers declared a strike and ordered a stop on petroleum delivery as of today, and for an “indefinite period of time,” until they are able to come to terms with the Environment and Energy Ministry (MINAE, in Spanish).
CR Hoy, a Spanish periodical, confirmed the situation with the president of Transportistas de Combustibles de Costa Rica, (Costa Rican Fuel Carriers), Reynaldo Quiros, who said that the discontent of the petroleum carriers is due to the fact that MINAE excluded over 100 fuel carriers from obtaining the necessary certifications to operate because MINAE did not follow through with the process to extend the terms on some tanker trucks.
“ We went to (MINAE), and were not able to reach a positive agreement. Over 100 tanker trucks were not certified and are being left out of service …This sector is very united and if these 100 trucks do not enter into service, then the rest will not either,” Quiros said.
Quiros emphasized that their willingness to maintain the strike for an indefinite period of time comes from the fact that they have been working on extensions for 3 years. He also indicated that what they really want is time to make the corresponding repairs on the tanker trucks.
“(MINAE) gives us an arbitrary deadline, without considering that there are no shops, nor engineers. There are only two authorized engineers and these are the ones who inspect all tanker trucks in the country.”
According to MINAE, approximately 700 carriers had to have their trucks inspected and certified for leaks and tank thickness, amongst other items. The deadline by which these trucks had to have the certification expired on August 30th. However, of the total amount, over 100 fuel distributors were not able to process the request to extend the period due to lack of personnel and other isues at MINAE.
The president of the Chamber of Fuel Retailers, Jose Miguel Rojas, advised that the carriers are concerned not only about obtaining the permits, but are also concerned about what is going on in the Hydrocarbons Division of MINAE, due to the lack of personnel and a series of limitations that affect them, extensions are not being attended to in a reasonable timeframe.