Supply snags cause Shafaf shortage

April 10, 2014 - 5:15:40 am

By FAZEENA SALEEM

DOHA: Amid complaints about a shortage of the lightweight Shafaf LPG cylinders in the market, Woqod sources say that the company has been facing a distribution problem after sale of the cylinders was banned in fuel stations and is looking for solutions.

More than three weeks ago, Woqod stopped sale of the Shafaf cylinders at its fuel stations, following instructions from the Civil Defence Directorate in the wake of an explosion at a restaurant in a petrol station near Landmark mall in February. 

A senior Waqod official told this daily yesterday that the company is looking for alternative places to sell Shafaf cylinders. “High number of Shafaf cylinders was being sold at our fuel stations. The decision to stop the sales came suddenly. Now we are looking for alternative places,” said the official.

“Because we stopped selling at fuel stations, there is a gap in distribution. There is a challenge in reaching to customers,” he added. 

Currently Shafaf cylinders are sold only at supermarkets and several customers have been complaining about a shortage or delays in supply.

The official, however, claimed that the cylinders are being sold at supermarkets as earlier without any problem. 

“There is no shortage of cylinders. We have enough stocks and they are delivered to supermarkets as before. There are more than 200 supermarkets selling Shafaf cylinders,” he said.

Enquiries with several supermarkets yesterday revealed that demand for the cylinders have gone up over the past few weeks. Some say that they don’t have enough space to store the cylinders and the stock finishes quicker than before.  

“We don’t have stocks at present. The cylinders may be available by tomorrow but we are not sure,” said a shopkeeper in Aziziya area.  Asked if  the cylinders were supplied by Woqod on a regular basis, he said often there is a delay. 

Another shop keeper at New Salata said the shop didn’t have cylinders for more than three days, and he was not sure when they would be available. “We normally have a small stock of like 25 cylinders. They finish soon and we don’t get new stocks quickly,” he said.

Many customers continue to complain that they face difficulties in getting the cylinders at supermarkets.  “I went to at least to four shops and found a cylinder at the fifth shop. This is very unusual. Woqod  should find a solution to this problem,” said an expatriate. 

“We can’t go hunting for a gas cylinder every time. They should open exclusive shops to sell the cylinders,” said another.

The Peninsula

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