January 2nd, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) The country’s gasoline sector, including both carriers and retailers of fuel, will be meeting next Thursday to discuss the strategy with which they will begin a national strike, the first in 2013. Their intent is to place pressure on the government for supposed incompliances from the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) with the sector.
The fuel carriers have insisted that the Hydrocarbons Direction in MINAE has not complied with the agreements that they had reached with the sector in September, which in turn has caused over 60 tanker trucks to sit idle. Meanwhile, the retailers have their own grievances regarding modifications to their systems. According to the retailers, the cost of such modifications would be very high, and would have to be passed along to consumers.
The president of the Energy Sector Transporters Association (ATRANSE), Reynaldo Quiros, stated that the Environmental Minister, Rene Castro, proposed the purchase of new tankers, a proposal he said is impossible as so much has already been invested in modifications of the existing fleet.
“There has been an investment of millions spent in remodeling the trucks and we can’t just simply buy new ones like Minister Castro proposes we do, after great investments have been carried out so that the equipment can continue working (…) There is no sense in throwing away, getting rid of, or simply leaving equipment that can continue to work…,” said Quiros.
Quiros stated that the retailers are also affected by this measure, as many of them also operate their own tanker trucks which would be affected by the MINAE measures.
“The sector has already reached an agreement, others who are also affected will be joining as well. We are going to form a larger group and what we want is to define the organization of the movement that we are going to carry out,” said Quiros.
In the meeting, according to Quiros, they will decide on the initial date of the strike as “it must be well organized because we want the impact to be felt, we have never taken to the streets (…), that could be a measure this time, because those trucks that Minister Castro said were time bombs, can be put on the road so that people will see them and therefore, will see the truth for themselves.”
Quiros recognized that the strikes that have been carried out in the past have not had the desired effect, as although citizens suffered the consequences, the effects were not felt by public employees that are in charge of processing the permits, “for which the next strike will be different,” he said.
According to the president of ATRANSE, about 400 fuel carriers presented applications on July 31st, as required by MINAE and 5 months later have yet to receive a response, apart from a letter requesting additional requirements.
“If, after this time they have not received a response and the time limit is January 31st, what is going to happen with those trucks? (…) Are they going to be stopped too?” Quiros asked.