Transportation of petroleum products faces a major hitch in the early weeks of 2020 as the government moves to implement stringent rules on tanker drivers.
Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) says only the drivers holding special certificates will be allowed on the roads after January 15.
“Any person wishing to drive a petroleum road tanker or engage a driver for the purposes of transporting petroleum in bulk by road should ensure that such a driver is certified for that purpose by EPRA,” the agency said in an announcement last week.
“To obtain a petroleum tanker driver’s certificate, one must log onto our website and apply for registration, and those found suitable will receive certificates within 14 days,” it said of the rules gazetted in November, targeting oil marketers, wholesalers, retail station dealers, transport firms and drivers.
Section 74(1) (d) of the Petroleum Act 2019 states: “a person who wishes to — (d) drive a vehicle, or engage a driver, for the purpose of transporting petroleum in bulk by tanker shall ensure that such driver is certified for that purpose by EPRA.”
The regulator warned that drivers found driving the tankers without the certificate risk a fine of up to Sh250,000 or imprisonment for not less than three years.
The directive could adversely disrupt the movement of oil products from Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) to local fuel stations that is usually done using low to high-capacity tankers.
Regional oil exports that have been on an upward trend since last November when KPC slashed transportation prices to Sh3,089 ($30.89) per 1,000 litres from Sh6,000 to counter Dar es Salaam could suffer major setbacks as foreign oil tankers load fuel at KPC’s Eldoret and Kisumu depots.
The new directive means oil tanker drivers using Kenyan roads but ferry fuel to Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Northern Tanzania must also acquire the ‘special’ licences.
The new directive comes after the 6pm to 6am night ban on oil tankers was lifted with stringent regulations imposed where truck drivers are required to drive for eight hours only in a day.