Fuel prices ‘suffocate’ operator

SHIP operators will have to fork out more money to maintain services on their routes. This is after the announcement made by the Minister for Trade, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, on the increase in fuel prices and decrease in LPG and auto gas effective from July 18.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the increase in fuel prices and decrease in LPG and auto gas prices were because of international market forces beyond the Government’s control

A statement released by the Department of Information stated the increase in fuel prices was because of the high demand and stagnant supply of fuel and also the higher rates for shipping. It said the three factors led to increased international rates.

The Fiji Commerce Commission has also implemented new shipping fares and freight charges effective from July 1, this year.

Goundar Shipping Services managing director George Goundar said ship operators were struggling.

“Firstly, I would like to say that there was never a consultation done between the Fiji Commerce Commission and us, the shipping operators to discuss the new shipping fares and freight charges,” he said.

“Secondly, we are struggling with our business because the new freight rates and shipping fares have affected us badly and then the fuel price has just increased. We don’t know where else to take our grievances to.”

Seaview Shipping company director Durga Prasad said his business was “suffocating”.

“The new freight charges and shipping fares and along with the increase in fuel prices, it is killing my business,” Mr Prasad said.

Mr Prasad said it was hard to make profit especially when it was low peak season for the shipping industry.

Decrease

The reduction of the LPG/auto gas prices are as follows:

· 4.5 kilogram cylinder is reduced by 5 cents from $13.45 to $13.40;

· 12 kilogram cylinder is reduced by 14 cents from $35.87 to $35.73;

· Bulk LPG is reduced by 1 cent from $2.41 to $2.40; and

· Auto gas by is reduced by 4 cents from $1.70 to $1.66.

Increase

The increase in fuel prices are as follows:

· Motor Spirit increases by 31 cents from $1.90 to $2.21;

· Premix increases by 24 cents from $1.85 to $2.09;

· Kerosene increases by 9 cents from $1.27 to $1.36; and

· Diesel increases by 12 cents from $1.67 to $1.79.

* Prices will vary outside the cities of Suva and Lautoka and the towns of Lami, Nasinu, Nausori and Nadi.