Eastern Petroleum ties up with Russia’s GAZ Group

Published in the Philippine Star, September 7, 2017

Written by Danessa Rivera


Eastern Petroleum Corp. has partnered with Moscow-based GAZ Group to market light commercial vehicles in the Philippines in support of the government’s public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program.

Under the agreement, the GAZ Group will supply reliable and modern Gazelle Next buses to the Philippines. Eastern Petroleum will have the distribution rights and after-sales service of GAZ’s light commercial vehicles, including exclusive rights to sell Gazelle Next 17-seater minibus and Gazelle Next Cityline 20-seater bus.

Gazelle Next is a line of light commercial vehicles that combine high functionality and modern technical solutions. It includes trucks, utility vehicles, vans and minibuses equipped with diesel, gasoline or gas engines.

The STAR first broke the story as among the potential business deals when Filipino businessmen met with their Russian counterparts during President Duterte’s official visit in Russia last May.

The partnership will fully meet the requirements of the government’s fleet modernization program, said Christian Kremer, GAZ Group senior vice president for sales and marketing.

“The Philippine commercial vehicle market is growing by 30 percent annually, and the large-scale government fleet modernization program begins in 2018,” he said.

“We are glad that GAZ Group was able to get such a reliable business partner as Eastern Petroleum that will help us to develop rapidly in the market and also become a full participant in the state programs for the public transport renewal. Our reliable, safe and comfortable Gazelle Next will appear on the Philippine roads very soon,” he added.

Eastern Petroleum chairman and CEO Fernando Martinez said their partnership with GAZ Group allows them to aggressively participate in the public transport modernization that badly needs private and public sector investments.

“More than 200,000 units of the commonly used mode of transport called jeepney and vans are due for immediate replacements in the next five years. The GAZ Group products fully comply with the environmental standards of the Philippines and also meet all requirements for comfort and safety. Moreover, GAZ Group has modern solutions for transporting low-mobility citizens, which fully fits the social needs of the modernization program,” he said.

The Philippine government’s PUV modernization program aims to modernize PUVs in the Philippines that will not only decongest the roads but will provide safer, cleaner, healthier and fuel-efficient transport system for Filipino commuters.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) said the Duterte administration will initially seek to modernize 200,000 public utility jeepneys across the country as part of the government efforts to provide a safer transport system for commuters while mitigating the effects of climate change.

However, transport groups are against the program, arguing it is anti-poor and the government should instead opt for a rehabilitative thrust instead of offering loans.