The National, Wednesday 8th May 2013
By JAMES APA GUMUNO
GOODS and fuel are starting to run low in the business hub of the highlands’ region, Mt Hagen in Western Highlands.
The road has been closed for three days in Chimbu but most companies based in Mt Hagen are operating as usual.
However, people have been expressing concern about the deteriorating state of the Highlands Highway between Kaukau Market and Waigar in the Kerowagi district, Chimbu, which has been closed for more than four weeks.
They said stocks were running low, most would last between two weeks and a month.
The Trukai depot in Mt Hagen which supplies the popular Trukai and Roots rice to major clients and retailers in Hela, Mendi, Enga, Western Highlands and Jiwaka, said it had enough stock to last about a month.
Company officer Willie Jackson said if the road remained closed for two months or more, they would have nothing in stock.
A company spokesman for Goodman Fielder, the supplier of Flame flour, stock feed and snacks, said its stocks would run out in three weeks.
He said a meeting on Monday many of their clients in Mendi, Tari and Wabag came into Mt Hagen and bought goods in big stocks.
“Whatever stocks our distributors have in their warehouses are gone, we will wait for the road to be re-opened before getting our new stocks,” the spokesman said.
He said their new stocks were still in Lae waiting for the road to be fixed.
Chris Harker, the regional manager of the Coca-Cola Amatil depot in Mt Hagen said its products were in higher demand than usual.
“Everybody in the region is keeping their fingers crossed now waiting for the road to be re-opened as soon as possible,” he said.
McQueenie Waia, the managing director of the leading fuel distributor in the highlands region, Eagle Distributors, said first priority would be given to his pre-paid and InterOil corporate clients.
Waia said he had enough fuel to supply all his customers while waiting for the road to be fixed.
He could not say how much fuel was in stock.