Large number of oil tankers are parked at an oil terminal located at Shireen Jinnah colony during a wheel-jam strike. online The country fears an oil crisis as the All Pakistan Oil Tankers Contractors Association (APOTCA) went on a countrywide strike for an indefinite period, in an attempt to force the government to meet its demands. According to details, the association parked the oil tankers and suspended the supply of oil. “There are rumours in circulation that we have called off the strike which is untrue,” All Pakistan Oil Tankers Contractors Association President Abidullah Afridi said. “We would remain on strike until our demands are fully met,” he added. He also said that the oil tankers contractors and owners have invested billions of rupees to upgrade their vehicles to transport oil supplies from Karachi to the upcountry. However, the OMCs have laid White Oil Pipeline from Karachi to Punjab to transport oil to the upcountry. “We demand 50% quota in the White Oil Pipeline (WOP), meaning the oil marketing companies should dispatch 50% supplies through roads and rest of the 50% through the pipeline,” Afridi said. The OMCs are dispatching some 60% diesel supplies through the pipeline. The rest of the supplies were being supplied through tankers, it was learnt. Besides, the pipeline was also being upgraded to transport petrol (motor gasoline) as well. Updates related to this were unavailable at the time of filing this story. The association president went on to say that all the associations engaged in oil supplies to the upcountry are part of the strike, including the oil tankers owners’ association. There are some 15,000 tankers engaged in supplying petroleum products nationwide. Among other demands were a cut in the rate of taxes on transportation of oil and fixation of the queue system at oil storage facilities, he said. “The government had promised to cut the rate of tax on us to 2% in the budget (for FY-22) from 3%. However, the rate of tax has remained unchanged at 3%,” he said. Moreover, there is a need to fix the queue system at oil storage facilities. At present, those tankers which belong to influential people are given priority in filling their tankers while others have to wait for comparatively longer duration, he said. Oil marketing companies have introduced a computerised system instead of the “queue system”, according to APOTCA representatives Abid Afridi, Iqbal Jahangiri and Israr Shinwari. They said that they are facing problems because of the new system. Besides, the traffic police do not let oil tankers enter the Keamari Oil Terminal, nor are they allowed to park the vehicles roadside. However, the All Pakistan Oil Tankers Owners Association (APOTOA) has distanced itself from the strike. APOTOA Vice-President Shams Shahwani said the computerised system would end kickbacks on oil tankers. “This is the actual issue, the rest have been added just like that,” he said. Shahwani said his association would not go on the strike, keeping the economic situation in view.