The island of Rota is likely to experience a shortage in their supply of butane gas for cooking if the barge that delivers their supply does not arrive soon.
Several stores on the southern island have expressed concerns since butane gas is not allowed to be shipped by plane.
Esperanza Castro, accountant at Harvest Store, said in a phone interview yesterday that they ordered last November several palettes of butane gas cases and other commodities such as salt and soy sauce.
Every week since then, they would be told that the shipment would arrive but it never does, Castro said.
“Our last supply of butane gas was the order we placed back in October but that's not a lot,” she said.
Liza Camacho, a cashier at Lucky Store, also confirmed the dwindling supply of butane gas.
“It's not just our store. Every store on island is almost out of butane gas to sell to residents of Rota,” she told Saipan Tribune.
Both store employees noted that the last barge arrived in December, carrying their October orders.
Persistent bad weather and high surf have been hampering the delivery of goods to Rota. The lack of shipment by sea has prompted most stores, if not all, to ship small orders of goods by plane just to have something to put on their shelves.
Camacho said they are running out of sugar, soy sauce, cooking oil, and soda, among many others, prompting them to order a few cases of these commodities from Saipan.
For Harvest Store, Castro said they keep their orders of soy sauce, salt, juices, soba, and frozen goods to a minimum because of the high cost of air freight.
Castro disclosed that they received yesterday a shipment of beer from Guam. They expect to arrive today several cases of sodas, flour, soy sauce, and soba, also from Guam.
Both employees complained about the high cost of air freight, requiring them to increase their prices to spread the added costs to their customers.
“At this point, we don't know how to address our need for butane gas supply on Rota,” added Castro.
Calls to the Rota mayor were not returned as of press time.