The transport sector studies stopping in the face of the unstoppable rise in fuel

Refueling at a gas station. / C7

Ensures that the bonus of 20 cents has already been annihilated by the increases and they demand more measures to be able to continue with the activity

The unstoppable increase in the price of fuel in the Canary Islands -only this week it has risen two cents per liter- is heating up the spirits in the transport sector of the islands, which is considering strikes as a way to attract the attention of the administrations. Gasoline and diesel are this week at around 1.5 euros per liter while additive fuels are above 1.6 euros in the Canary Islands.

Two months ago, at the end of March, the sector threatened with a strike that it finally did not celebrate after approving measures at the national level, such as the bonus of 20 cents per liter of fuel, or raising the Government of the Canary Islands the refund of the tax on professional diesel to 99.9% retroactively between March 1 and July 31.

These measures, however, have fallen short due to the constant rise in fuel prices, which has averaged two cents in recent weeks. «The 20 cents of the bonus have been eaten by price increases. We are at the same point as two months ago," says the president of the Federation of Transport Entrepreneurs (FET), Agustín Espino, who assures that the sector is in an "unsustainable" situation.

He considers that the public administrations should get involved and set a "ceiling" on the prices of professional diesel, since the upward escalation of prices does not seem to have an end.

«The 20 cents have been a trap. Now we are as if there had been no bonus. The Government must set a ceiling on prices so that the sector has peace of mind, "says Espino, who assures that the sector needs fuel for its activity and cannot continue in this situation. “Either the sector is helped or we are going to have to stop because this is unaffordable,” he indicates, who assures that truckers are losing money going to work.

"The Government must get involved with this sector because if we don't we will have to stop," says Espino. As he explains, negotiating contracts today, for example with the tourism sector for the summer, is proving to be very difficult due to fluctuations in fuel prices.

"If you put it at the current price you can lose money due to the upward escalation of prices and if we put it above the customer asks you and we do not know how far it will go," he says.

In principle, prices are being closed with tour operators until September and pending renegotiation "waiting for what may happen."

At the national level, the carriers, who staged a break of almost three weeks at the end of March and with serious consequences for other sectors (such as the industrial sector, which had to stop its production), are considering stopping again. In the Canary Islands, as Espino points out, that spirit also exists due to the seriousness of the situation.

As indicated, although "everything indicates" that the Government of Spain is going to extend until September the bonus of 20 cents per liter (which in theory ends on June 30), the aid has already fallen short. In addition, it remains to be seen what the Government of the Canary Islands will do with the tax credit on professional diesel beyond July 31.

The general secretary of the FET, José Ángel Hernández, points out that the sector “trusts” these extensions. "Carriers are waiting," says Hernández.

End of discounts

The extreme situation in which the sector finds itself has been complicated this week after the announcements made by several of the oil companies that operate on the islands to carriers and that further complicate their day to day. Companies such as Disa, Cepsa and Repsol have substantially reduced the discounts they offer carriers as the great consumers they are, which is causing great discomfort in the group.

The companies assure that they have not eliminated the discounts that they applied and that they could reach ten cents per liter but that the rises that the fuel has suffered have eaten them. However, the sector is suspicious and doubts the justification.

Similarly, carriers on the islands have begun to experience that the price of fuel is cheaper at gas stations than at their own depots, which are supplied by oil companies. Regarding this matter, the secretary of the FET, José Ángel Hernández, is upset by this situation that is difficult to resolve because the service stations do not have the capacity or high pressure pumps to supply large vehicles such as buses and trucks. “We do not understand how this situation can be taking place,” says Hernández. Some service stations are preparing to be able to provide the service but for now it is not enabled.

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