Regional News of 2014-06-03

Fuel tankers take over Tema-Kpone road

Danger is looming on the Tema-Kpone road as fuel tanker drivers have resorted to parking their vehicles haphazardly on the shoulders of the road.

More than 50 fuel tankers were spotted by the Ghana News Agency parked on the shoulders of the road from the junction in front of Global Haulage Limited, near the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), through Ghana Oil Company (GOIL) depot and towards Aluworks on the Tema-Kpone road.

The parking is a normal feature at the place as the tanker drivers use the place as a converging point to wait for their turn to lift fuel from the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) located along the Tema-Kpone road.

Apart from creating traffic and discomfort for other road users, the activities of the drivers could lead to a major fire outbreak in the area as they even park under the high tension electrical installations.

They sleep, bathe, cook, wash their trucks, as well as engage in other activities there.

In addition to the activities of the tanker drivers, there are some welders and vulcanizers also operating under the electrical installations.

Sanitation at the place is appalling as heaps of refuse and plastic bags, as well as pools of water seen all over.

The truck drivers, oblivious of the health implications of their activities at their converging place, have mounted their makeshift beds (a small house like metal structure with leather covering) inside the stagnant water and mud either in front or beside their tankers.

Mr. Eric Teye Amoako, Chairman of the Ghana National Petroleum Tanker Drivers Union (GPTDU) told the GNA that the tanker drivers are parking on the shoulders of the road and any other available land around TOR due to the lack of a central converging place after their eviction from the Global Haulage Limited land where they use to park.

The Agreement on the land which used to be TOR’s operational tanker park was canceled in 2013 when TOR refused to renew the contract due to the refinery’s inability to foot the bills involved.

Mr. Amoako said though some OMCs such as Chase and Cirrus Oil have some parking lots in their yards, tankers were not allowed to park there unless it was their turn to load.

He added that since almost all the OMCs have their offices at the premises of Global Haulage Limited, the tanker drivers converged at the place to arrange for their orders and while waiting, resort to parking at the shoulders of the road.

He indicated that, as much as they were aware of the danger their activities may cause in the vicinity, they had no other choice as the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) and other stakeholders were yet to provide them with a proper converging place.

Mr Amoako stated that his union had written to the NPA since March this year, to intervene and play a leading role as the regulator, to ensure some sanity in the system but was yet to receive a reply from them.

“We can imagine the consequences should an emergency such as a fire outbreak occur in the area, evacuating the trucks will be a major problem,” he said, stressing the need for the NPA to act urgently.

He said though the Ghanaian tanker drivers parked at the premises, it was the drivers from Mali and Burkina Faso, who normally sleep there when they are in the country to take fuel orders from the OMCs.

Mr. Amoako added that the foreign tanker drivers could spend between two weeks and one month at the place before returning to their respective countries as processing of their papers after loading takes a lot of time.