DELTA EXPLAINS CURRENT BEER SHORTAGES
HARARE — A shortage of glass bottles and inefficiencies within its distribution line has seen Delta Corporation fail to meet demand, especially for its alcoholic beverages.
At present, the beverages company has limited choice on brands available within its sales portfolio — only able to supply slow moving lines such as Eagle Lager, Pilsener and Lion — and is placing a limit on orders to never above 70 crates per licence.
Delta chief executive officer, Matts Valela said that the problem is mainly emanating from the backlog of supplies the group incurred when it faced a foreign currency crisis eight months ago, which impacted on its ability to import glass.
“The volumes (of production) have been going up but unfortunately when we had a forex crisis, we had no sufficient glass. The volumes are only responding now. We don’t have a glass plant here so we have to import from Egypt and Tanzania. We are currently receiving 10 trucks per week,” he said.
Valela said the situation had also been exacerbated by customers who were now in the habit of not returning glass — some holding for speculative purposes — and optimisation of production to meet demand, which has now risen to high levels.
At its last trading update, Delta reported that its lager volumes grew 98 percent in the four months to July driven by competitive pricing and much improved product supply. Volumes at 568 000 hectolitres (hl) were above the five year average of 453 000hl for the same period and second best to F19 comparatives over the past five years.
There are also reports of inefficiencies within the distribution chain.
Generally priority on fast moving lines is given to wholesalers while retailers are apportioned limited products. This has given rise to corruption at the depots.
Recently, the group said it would accelerate the RGB investment programme to ensure both availability and affordability are anchored. The group will also optimise the route to market and close the product supply gaps ahead of the summer season.
Valela admitted the group could also be overwhelmed by the number of customers, adding the packaging of mostly pints was in line with the affordability thrust it had adopted to cater for all its customers.
“People might under-estimate what is happening in Zimbabwe; we have makorokoza who have a lot of disposable income, sometimes we get caught out with these things,” he said.
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The accused person fled the scene but was arrested yesterday.
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