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Minister Bernhard Esau considered fuel price increase had a negative effect on the fishing industry. (Photo: mme.gov.na/heimsnet/FIS)

Fishing companies suffer from rising oil prices

Click on the flag for more information about Namibia NAMIBIA
Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 23:50 (GMT + 9)

The fishing sector is expecting a drop in productivity for 2012 if fuel prices remain high. Prices have already gone up this year.

Already, 2011 brought massive losses for the sector precisely because of high fuel costs. Lüderitz-based fishing companies paid the price.

These firms must factor in an additional 6 per cent rail tariff hike because they are serviced by inland depots, such that their fuel costs much higher than for fishing companies based out of Walvis Bay.

"The increase [in fuel prices] had a huge negative impact on the growth of the fishing industry in 2011," Fisheries Minister Bernhard Esau told Parliament last week, New Era reports.

The last price increase this year came on 11 April. The energy ministry took the price up by NAD 0.20 (USD 0.03) per litre for both lead replacement and unleaded petrol and a NAD 0.10 (USD 0.01) for diesel.

Fuel barrels. (Photo: Stock File)

Although the ministry would subsidise these changes with money from the National Energy Fund -- a subsidy of NAD 0.18 (USD 0.02) per l of petrol and NAD 0.8 (USD 0.10) per litre of diesel -- the medium-term impact remains harmful.

Fuel is the single biggest operational expenditure for hake fishing companies, taking up as much as 30 per cent of total operational costs.

Esau said hopefully the trend of fuel increases would not take over the entire year.

The fishing sector plans to hold a meeting to discuss possible strategies to fight the increases, such as improved fuel rebates.

"It is a tough time for us, [the monthly increases in fuel prices] are really biting into our operations," Chairperson of the Namibian Hake Association, Mati Amukwa said.

Fishing companies with older vessels, which burn more fuel, are suffering the most.

"It is a big concern for us; fuel is our most single largest expense," said Chairperson of the Confederation of Namibian Fishing Associations Silvanus Kathindi.

Stricter sanctions against Iran's energy and banking sectors by the US has upset the supply of fuel, as Iran supplies nearly 45 per cent of the world's oil.

Companies are hoping new talks between the US and Iran will resolve problems and ease some of the tighter conditions now imposed on Iran.

The sanctions already pushed up crude prices to USD 128 per barrel in March.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources intends to invest close to NAD 50 million (USD 6.4 million) to assess the sustainability of its horse mackerel, seal and pilchard stock management by sending officials to Finland to oversee the completion of a research vessel, The Namibian reports.

By Natalia Real
[email protected]
www.fis.com


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