Retail gasoline stations must open at least 12 hours per day: draft report

The Department of Industry and Trade of Ho Chi Minh City has been collecting comments on a draft report on regulations on on-sales hours, cases of stopping sales, and the notification process before stopping sales at retail gasoline stations in the area.

Accordingly, the draft stipulates that the total on-sales hours in a day and the specific opening hours in the day shall be determined by traders owning retail gasoline stations according to reality and in line with the capabilities of enterprises. However, they must ensure at least 12 hours of on-sales hours in a day, including Saturday and Sunday, not to open sales later than 6 a.m. and not to close before 6 p.m. every day. For holidays, the minimum sales time must not be less than 8 hours per day. Retailers are encouraged to register to open longer than the specified minimum time.

The Department of Industry and Trade said that fuel traders who have been granted a retail certification would register for the sales hours after this regulation takes effect. At the same time, the sales time at retail stations must be listed according to the registered time. The draft also puts forward cases in which sales can be stopped, including renovation, upgrade, and repair work of under 30 days; fuel traders with family affairs, accidents, or sicknesses may suspend selling for a maximum of seven days; force majeure events, such as fire, explosion, flood; at the request of State management agencies.

Regarding the contents mentioned in the draft, the Department of Industry and Trade added that some retail gasoline stations are operating 24/7 hours. However, some are opening in the time frame from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Some stations even register the sales time to 5 p.m. every day. Meanwhile, petrol is an essential commodity, serving the regular travel need of people. The time frame from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. is the time people get off from work; hence, the traffic volume is large, and the demand for fuel is extremely high. Therefore, fuel stations that only serve until 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. daily are not suitable for petroleum business conditions in large urban areas like HCMC, especially when there is a local gasoline shortage.

“To avoid the situation that businesses register, change, and reduce the sales hours, especially in the case of a fuel shortage, the city needs to have specific regulations on the on-sales hours of retail fuel stations in the area. Promulgating specific regulations on sales time, cases of stopping sales, and the notification process before stopping sales at retail fuel stations is a necessary step to help create a sufficient basis for authorities to inspect, review, and handle violations," the representative of the Department of Industry and Trade explained.