By: ELOISE WALTON
FUEL SHORTAGES across Portugal caused people to panic buy on Wednesday, leading to many petrol stations running out of fuel and having to close.
Rui Vieira, a spokesman for the transport union in the Algarve, whose members are protesting about the rising cost of fuel said on Wednesday morning: “Around seven or eight petrol stations in the Algarve have already run out of fuel because of the transport blockade, especially those in Silves, Lagos and Olhã. In the next few days fuel will run out everywhere”.
from Galp petrol station in Lagoa, who asked not to be named, told The Resident: “There are such big queues, cars are blocking the junctions to get to us, but we have already run out of diesel. We will probably run out of petrol this morning (Wednesday) and then I don’t know what will happen.”
At the time The Resident went to press, Galp in Lagoa had run out of fuel and closed.
Resident reader India Sampson, who works in an estate agency in Carvoeiro, said: “There is a lot of confusion at the local Cepsa petrol station. Many people are unable to fill their tanks and we could have to limit property viewings in the next few days to save petrol.”
Rui Vieira added that the protesters are allowing lorries and trucks to pass that are transporting essentials and fuel for hospitals and airports.
Rui Oliveira, a spokesman for Faro airport, told The Resident: “There is no shortage of fuel at Faro airport. Our passengers will not be affected. We have been refuelling so the planes are able to fly without any problems.”
However, Ana SA, the company which manages Portugal’s airports, sent a statement to foreign airlines recommending that they bring enough fuel for return journeys to Lisbon airport.
Some tow trucks in the Algarve and Alentejo region, which had joined the protest on Sunday, reached an agreement on Tuesday with their companies.
The tow trucks were due to start removing broken down vehicles on Wednesday that had been accumulating on the sides of roads and motorways across both regions.
This agreement was reached after the tow truck companies agreed to increase the money given to each worker by 40 per cent for each service that is carried out.
Rui Vieira said: “For example, for a local service, which included a journey of 40 kilometres, we would be paid 19.95 euros. Now the companies have agreed to pay us 40 per cent more.”
He said that the tow trucks were going to continue with the protest, adding: “We are only going to collect the vehicles that have been abandoned on the sides of the road. There are many of them.”
Elsewhere in Portugal, petrol stations, supermarkets and other shops are running out of fuel, fresh produce and other goods, while the protest continued.
On Tuesday, PSP police escorted 40 fuel trucks, in groups of 10, to refill petrol stations around Lisbon and Setubal because many had already run out of fuel.
Portuguese lorry drivers who were bringing imports into Portugal or returning home were also stranded at the border between France and Spain at the time The Resident went to press.
One Portuguese lorry driver told the Portuguese radio station Rádio Comercial: “The border into Spain is blocked for lorries and trucks and so I will not be able to deliver my cargo on time. Many are stuck in France in the same situation. It’s chaos.”
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