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Puerto Rico food industry group urges gov’t to address fuel distribution

By on September 26, 2017

SAN JUAN – The private sector, particularly food industry-related businesses were expresseing concern over the issues related to the distribution of diesel throughout the Puerto Rico.

The president of the Chamber of Food Marketing, Industry & Distribution (MIDA by its Spanish acronym), Manuel Reyes, asked that the government urgently address the situation and stabilize the chain of distribution of foodstuffs in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane María.

“There definitely are damages; there’s spoiled merchandise. There is the risk that if businesses remain without diesel their merchandise with spoil,” said Reyes, who still doesn’t have an inventory of the damage to the food industry after the Category 4 hurricane struck the island.

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Reyes told Caribbean Business that in the case of food distributors, they were seeking that the government designate gas stations specifically “to supply diesel only to food trucks.” He added that although the government has shown willingness to address the situation, it hasn’t executed a plan yet.

As for businesses that require diesel to keep their generators working, Reyes said trucks that distribute fuel are not organized since they are independent, which has made communication between transportation providers impossible.

“We are calling for truck drivers to come, to report and to become part of the distribution chain…and make us a priority,” theMIDA president said, adding that supermarkets and restaurants are the priority.

Responding to questions from Caribbean Business about private sector complaints that there are problems with diesel distribution, the Public Affairs Secretary Ramón Rosario said MIDA and other private sector organizations are meeting with the government to deal with the matter.

The official added that they are opening an office at the Sheraton Hotel in the Convention Center District exclusively to hear out private sector concerns.

“There are little things we can do to solve big problems in the private sector and we are channeling those with the corresponding agencies,” Rosario said, adding that federal and local authorities provided security escorts for gasoline and diesel trucks due to safety concerns.

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