Fuel scarcity looms as truck owners issue strike notice

The umbrella body of petroleum truck owners in the country, Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), has insisted on withdrawing its services nationwide, citing high operational costs and low freight rates.

In a letter addressed to the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), signed by its national president, Yusuf Lawal Othman during the weekend, NARTO said it had made several efforts to negotiate with the Major Energy Marketers Association of Nigeria (MEMAN) and other critical stakeholders in the industry for appropriate and commensurate freight rates for its operations, but received no positive responses.

The notice of withdrawal of their services and operations portends serious implications for the supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country, as NARTO controls over 80% of the petroleum transportation in Nigeria.

NARTO said it had no other option but to inform NUPENG that its National Executive Council (NEC) had resolved to direct all its members not to make their petroleum trucks available for petroleum products loading activities with effect from Monday, February 19, 2024.

NARTO appealed to its employees, who are members of NUPENG, to show maximum cooperation, support and understanding to its collective efforts for continued sustainability of the petroleum haulage business and effective service delivery by ensuring adequate and immediate compliance with the directive.

NARTO said it was impossible to continue in the business within the context of the current economic situation in the country.

The notice of withdrawal of operations was also sent to the Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Agency (MMDPRA), the Department of State Services (DSS), and the executive secretary of MEMAN.