Sharjah pump closure hits prepaid card holders

Fleet management of transport companies under pressure as Enoc, Eppco stations elsewhere get overcrowded

Growing congestion at Adnoc and Emarat petrol stations has now hit the sale of diesel and support services such as the car wash and oil change.
 
This rush comes in the wake of the closure of Enoc and Eppco petrol stations in Sharjah after a decision, two days ago, by the Sharjah Executive Council.

The crisis has forced Sharjah drivers to head to Dubai, which has led to huge congestion at Dubai pumps.
 
The closure of several Enoc and Eppco petrol stations in Sharjah has also posed a major problem for Select Plus Card users, especially corporate clients who used the debit and credit card option for fleet management.
 
Card holders who fill petrol or diesel with these cards are now finding themselves in massive queues at Enoc and Eppco stations in Dubai, due to the Sharjah closure.
 
 “We have been using Select Plus card for long now. The closure of all the Eppco petrol stations has caused a serious problem for us. We cannot go and fill from other petrol stations because the money is already paid or the company will not reimburse.
 
Our drivers could not even enter some of the Eppco stations in Dubai because of the heavy rush and queues. Most of the card users are company employees or drivers who cannot fill from other petrol stations,” said the manager of a Dubai-based transport Company.
 
Select, Select Plus and Select Debit cards are used by thousands of customers every day. These cards are used for purchasing fuel or using other related services.
 
Select is Enoc and Eppco’s corporate fleet management card that gives fleet managers complete control over how, where and when expenditure on fuel is made. Select is a smart card with credit/ debit facility. It can be pre-programmed with individual vehicle registration numbers.
 
Select Plus Credit allows fleet managers to set monthly, weekly or daily credit limits, define what purchases are allowed and view regular statements on-line. Select Plus Debit is for small to medium enterprises.
 
“Many companies, especially small and medium fleet management companies in Sharjah and Northern Emirates use these cards.
 
With the closure of these petrol stations, they are in a dilemma. They cannot use the same cards in other petrol stations of Emarat or Adnoc. Similarly, they have to wait for long hours in queue to fill petrol or other ancillary services,” said another aggrieved customer.
 
An earlier report said Eppco has issued more than 80,000 Select Cards. Many companies have subscribed to the Select Cards because the managers could easily monitor the fuel usage by drivers on a regular basis using the credit debit cards and an online monitoring system.
 
“There is a long queue in front of most Adnoc petrol stations in northern Emirates. People are in a hurry to go and they are creating traffic congestion within the petrol pump entry points,” said an employee of Adnoc station in Ajman.

The long queues in front of petrol stations are also blocking the entry of customers for other services like oil change, car wash, tyre services and convenient stores. “Sometimes due to long queues at the entry points of petrol stations, we cannot enter the station and refill the tanks. Tanker lorries cannot enter the stations,” said

Enoc petrol stations closed in Sharjah 

All Enoc and Eppco petrol stations in Sharjah have been officially closed from Friday morning following an order from the Sharjah Executive Council, implemented by the Sharjah Economic Department and Sharjah Police. 

Skeleton staff in the closed outlets are guarding the stock, especially perishable food products. After informally being closed for four weeks ostensibly for maintenance, all  Enoc and Eppco stations in Sharjah are now fully closed and each station has retained just one or two staff inside the closed convenient stores to guard the stock.  

“We have been asked to close down at about 11.30am on Friday. A Sharjah Police team came to all petrol stations, sealed the entry and exit points and advised the staff to keep all the stuff, including the lubricant cans kept outside, to be moved inside the convenient store. We are asked to keep the doors closed. We have placed a board saying "Sorry, We are closed,” said the supervisor of an Eppco station near Rolla in Sharjah. “Even if we sell a mineral water bottle, we will get a fine of Dh5,000 and the employee found violating the order will be terminated on the spot from service,” added the supervisor. Even the public toilets, car washing or other vehicle services and even restaurants and eateries in these outlets are found closed down. “Public is not allowed to use even the toilet in the Enoc/Eppco petrol stations in Sharjah,” he added.
 
The Emarat petrol pump just across the road is unable to cope up with the increased demand from motorists who used to fill from Eppco. The Sharjah Economic Development Department (SEDD) has ordered shutting down of all petrol stations under the Enoc Group in the emirate. The drastic decision came  after the company failed to comply with earlier instructions from Sharjah Government to resume their services. Sharjah Police keeps a constant vigil on petrol pumps for any violation of the closure order.

Petrol station employees in Sharjah, especially those who work in the night are cautious, after a bizzare robbery from an Emarat petrol station in Sharjah Industrial Area five. Two men using face masks reached the station with pistols and made away with Dh80,000 from the cash counter. The armed robbery from the petrol station has sent shock waves across the emirate, where day light robbery and theft have been reported.
 
As majority of the Sharjah residents go to Dubai for jobs or business, many of them have already started filling their tanks from Dubai petrol stations. As the official closure order came on Friday, a weekend for many residents, Emarat and Adnoc petrol stations in Sharjah and all the petrol stations in Dubai are expected to see increased business on Saturday and Sunday. “Our business has almost doubled in recent weeks because even vehicles from Sharjah are coming to Ajman to fill their tanks. Some of them are coming with big cans to stock petrol and diesel, because sometimes it may take minimum half an hour to fill the tanks.  Our pumps are always busy now,” said the manager of an Adnoc petrol station in Ajman.
 
“The company has gained from reduced transport and logistics costs of sending tankers to Sharjah stations. Almost the same amount of petrol is being sold from the Dubai sites,” said an Eppco source. One report said, Enoc/Eppco has been incurring huge losses due to selling petrol at subsidised rate, after procuring it at high international price even form companies such as Reliance of India. The company has been pressing for a petrol price hike, which the Government has ruled out now. Part of the staff released from the closed entities in Sharjah are relocated to Dubai sites to meet the increased demand there. Adnoc has increased fuel supply to the Northern Emirates by 40 per cent, said recent reports. 

Meanwhile, there are wild speculation among the petrol station employees that Enoc/Eppco stations may get subsidised petrol from Adnoc. “We are not getting enough supply of fuel from abroad. Enoc/Eppco get petrol from outside sources including Reliance Refinery in Mumbai. “We heard that Adnoc is going to supply fuel to the Northern Emirates and Sharjah. Adnoc currently does not have a jetty or other infrastructure facility in Jebel Ali. Sometimes we may get fuel from Abu Dhabi in tankers,” said an Eppco tanker driver. He said the volume of sales in summer period is normally 30 per cent more than the normal season. Drivers, especially long-trip motorists, have started keeping additional stock of diesel and petrol in their vehicles. “We have started keeping an extra can of fuel in our vehicle for use in emergency. There are no petrol stations between Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah,” said a motorist. Even in Sharjah many motorists are found purchasing additional fuel in plastic cans to keep as reserve 

 

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