Fuel prices

In January 2021, you could get a litre of diesel for R12.40. Oh, how times have changed – Helen Rickard / Flickr

KZN fuel: Panic buying hits retailers hard in flood-ravaged province

While logistical challenges in terms of fuel in KZN are slowly improving, panic buying is becoming a problem in itself in the province.

Fuel prices

In January 2021, you could get a litre of diesel for R12.40. Oh, how times have changed – Helen Rickard / Flickr

Panic buying of fuel has led to triple the daily average of sales at some fuel stations in KwaZulu-Natal. Fake messages being sent through social media have seen many residents rushing to their nearest stations to purchase petrol or diesel.

Greater demand for fuel arose as panic buying ensued

While many fuel retailer sites were severely impacted by the floods, an even greater demand on the already restricted supply chain was formed due to the panic buying. Fuel retail industry management consultancy PetroCONNECT shared that the disaster in KZN would take time to build up sales for fuel retailers again.

PetroCONNECT shared that the repair work values will be quantified in the weeks that follow. Many fuel stations, especially in low-lying areas, faced damages that will take months to rebuild.

The consultancy shared that the repair work values have been estimated to be in the millions. A substantial amount of money has been spent on pumping water out from underground tanks, PetroCONNECT said.

“A lot of sites will continue to run on generators due to the electricity challenges leading to even greater costs to keep the sites running with many not able to sell essentials like electricity and airtime due to cellphone towers being affected and taking these services offline.”


Logistical challenges have improved recently

In the past two days, there has been some improvement in the logistical challenges that were being faced by oil companies, according to PetroCONNECT. Bayhead Road, which is the main road in and out of depots, was severely damaged.

Numerous fuel stations in KwaZulu-Natal have had consumers panic buying as fake messages spread online. Photo: Adam Dimech / Flickr

Transnet issued a communication that they were working on fixing the road. The approval came through from authorities to allow for an alternative road to be used. However, this approval lead to further delays as it took over a day to come through.

Fuel stations in KZN began running dry. PetroCONNECT shared that an average fuel station took delivery of fuel every three days. Busier sites took a daily delivery. Now that the Bluff route is available for usage, supply challenges have been stabilising.

It will, however, take a few days to get fuel stations back to normal inventory holding, reports IOL.