As the gasoline shortage crisis intensifies with motorists staying overnight in queues, in hopes of getting a few gallons for their vehicles, APM Terminals-Liberia, a Dutch-based port operation company that operates at the Freeport of Monrovia, has strongly rejected an accusation by the Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC), Marie Urey Coleman, that it is responsible for delay in the arrival of gasoline because of its rescheduling of vessels at the National Port Authority.
It may be recalled that in recent days, government institutions, including the LPRC and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) have had a series of press conferences giving impressive hope to Liberians that the crisis, that has resulted in skyrocketing transportation fares for Liberians, would soon be solved. The LPRC Managing Director went further to blame the APM Terminal for rescheduling vessels at the port which, according to her, is delaying the arrival of gasoline promised two weeks ago to be available and surplus on the Liberian market.
In a stern reaction to the allegation, the APM Terminals Liberia Limited said, “The Management of the APM Terminals Liberia Ltd. wishes to draw the attention of the Liberian public to a statement made by the Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) during her press conference on February 10, 2020.”
Continuing, APM Terminals said it “wishes to put on record that the company has not rescheduled any vessels and we have no knowledge of vessels being rescheduled. Therefore, we totally and completely reject the unsubstantiated claim and wish to inform the Liberian public accordingly.”
Providing information about its activities and obligations, the company noted: “For the sake of good order, we wish to share that the involvement of APM Terminals Liberia Ltd in Petroleum vessel movements, in and out of the Freeport of Monrovia: APM Terminals Liberia Ltd. is only responsible to provide marine services (berthing/unberthing, pilotage, towing, mooring, etc, to petroleum vessels to the LPRC pier or the BMC Pier at the Freeport of Monrovia; berthing of all petroleum vessels is predicated on meeting draft and other port requirements, and APM Terminals Liberia Ltd. is not involved in the discharge of petroleum.”
In APM Terminals Liberia’s statement, issued yesterday, it emphatically stated that petroleum vessels berth at the LPRC pier and BMC piers only. Both the LPRC and BMC piers are outside the APM Terminals concession area and therefore APM Terminals is not involved in the scheduling/ rescheduling of petroleum vessels planned for the two piers.
AMP Terminals’ Management expressed its commitment towards the Government of Liberia and people, assuring, that it is contributing positively towards developing the Freeport of Monrovia into a world-class state-of-the-art Port.
For the record, APM Terminals declared that it has invested over US$130 million in the upgrade of Port infrastructure and equipment over the past nine years and, beyond this, the company has and will continue to fulfill its obligations relating to the payment of concession fees, corporate taxes and land lease fees.
Early last week, authorities of LPRC, Ministry of Commerce and Industry blamed the shortage of gasoline on dredging that was said to have been taking place at the port, a problem LPRC Managing Director Coleman said was hindering large vessels from docking at the port to deliver the product.
“As a result of the rescheduling of the vessels, we anticipate resolving this unforeseen shortage of gasoline within ten to fourteen days. Within this period, we will experience a shortage of gasoline on the Liberian market,” said LPRC release.
Although there have been conflicting accounts given by the government about the actual reason the country is such a situation, Reuters News Agency has reported that some petroleum product has gone missing at the LPRC.
The worsening petroleum crisis in the country has been approached by government officials using big words and the blame game to defend the government. This led Information Minister Eugene Nagbe to say recently that there is a crisis in the country, but it has been exacerbated by the lack of adequate and factual information.