INTRODUCTION: In Zimbabwe severe fuel shortages are threatening to bring the country to an economic standstill.
GV PAN Few cars in Salisbury's main street.
CU Sign "Garages Ration Petrol".
SV Cars lining-up for petrol outside station.
CU Sign "Ten Litres Only".
GV PAN Parked cars TO another petrol station.
SV Van being filled with fuel.
CU Sign "7 Litres per customer sorry".
GV ZOOM IN Petrol pump registering litres.
GV ZOOM Sign "No Petrol".
GV PAN Railway petrol tankers and martialling yard.
GV PAN Fuel depot tanks. (2 SHOTS)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: In Zimbabwe severe fuel shortages are threatening to bring the country to an economic standstill. Almost all of Zimbabwe's fuel supplies come through South Africa by rail but a continuing deterioration in the rail service has reduced these to a trickle. The ancient rolling stock and lack of trained staff made it difficult to transport enough fuel from the coastal ports.
SYNOPSIS: As the supply of fuel has become less reliable economic activity has inevitably suffered. Petrol users, fearful of an introduction of rationing, have been panic-buying which was aggravated the shortage. Now garages are imposing a strict rationing system of their own. Regular customers and essential service companies receive priority. However, while some supplies are still getting through the government remains reluctant to introduce official petrol rationing.
The fuel shortage, particularly of diesel, has been damaging for Zimbabwe's agriculture. The movement of valuable export crops like maize and coffee - essential to Zimbabwe's foreign exchange - is threatened. Farmers preparing the land for the coming growing season are being hampered by the breakdown in their diesel supplies.
Zimbabwe's railways, restricted by ageing rolling stock and an exodus of white maintenance staff, have become so congested that the government is considering new routes for importing fuel. A growing proportion is now being brought hundreds of miles by rail from the Mozambique ports of Maputo and Beira.