Tightened rules in Thailand hit oil transportation to Myawady

Fuel stations in the border town of Myawady are fretting about fuel shortages following Thailand’s stricter rules on fuel transportation across the Moei River.

They said that shortage would be apparent within a week. The town depends largely on imports from the neighbouring country of Thailand. Yet, the restriction on the weight of trucks passing the old Mae Sot-Myawady Friendship Bridge forced fuel companies to load fuel from trucks to a pipeline laid above the Moei River. Thai police recently however barred such loading, saying that the trucks are licensed to transport fuel through the bridge only.

A fuel station owner said that diesel supply has been declining since Sunday.

“Trucks can pass the bridge but they have to be careful that they won’t breach the maximum weight limit,” the anonymous owner said.

The fully-loaded oil trucks normally weigh 40-50 tonnnes. However, the friendship bridge recently imposed the weight limit of only 30 tonnes. It was recently reconstructed due to the heavy use in the past years. The bridge was opened for service in 1999.

Residents in Myawady are concerned about the prospect of rising prices.

“Prices will increase for sure. Last time, prices doubled in Myawady. I ride a motorcycle taxi. This will hurt my family,” said Naing Lin, a local resident.

Sae Than, who runs Dawna Yadanar Myay fuel station, said that the station relied solely on the transportation by trucks from Thailand.

“If this difficulty continues, we will have to transport fuel from Yangon to Myawady,” the owner said.

At present, fuel stations in the town pay 1.5 per cent in custom duty, 10 per cent as trade tax, 2 per cent as advanced tax and 5 per cent as income tax.