Nearly 300 filling stations temporarily closed after new payment system introduced

COLOMBO – Nearly 300 filling stations across the country have been closed temporarily due to complications arising from a new payment system and inadequacies in the supply of fuel, according to the Filling Station Association (FSA).

Kumara Rajapakshe, the Association’s president, said on Monday (5)  a priority list issued by the state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), ending cash on delivery payments, and a return to routine economic activity have all contributed to the temporary closure of some stations.

He said not every filling station on the CPC roster receives their daily quota of fuel. Priority is given on the basis of the location of the filling station and the demand for its fuel.

“As per the priority list, only selected stations will get fuel, resulting in stations not on the list not being able to sell fuel on that day. Until the stocks of fuel arrive the sheds will be closed,” Rajapakshe revealed.

Fuel stations are issued around 6,600 litres of fuel to distribute. However, Sri Lanka has seen an increase in the demand for fuel, which has doubled since February.

“The requirement for fuel by the public has tripled, but the CPC doesn’t issue quantities like before. It takes only four to five hours for 6,600 litres to finish, after which there is no fuel and until stocks arrive the station is closed,” Rajapakshe pointed out.

The new payment system, where filling Stations are required to deposit cash before 10:30 p.m. for fuel delivery next day, has also severely impacted trading of fuel due to disrupted cash flows.

With increases in fuel prices, fuel station owners say they are not able to pay prior to the sale of fuel. This move has resulted in station owners having to compromise on stocks based on the cash flow available, which does not favour the high demand for fuel.

Rajapakshe also noted that queues had re-emerged as schools and universities reopened and state and private sector employees returned to work resulting in more vehicles lining up outside filling stations.


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