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AdBlue price hikes demonstrate supply chain vulnerability: VTA

Exorbitant increases in the price truckies are being charged for AdBlue illustrates the fallout over lack of sovereignty in supply chains, said the Victorian Transport Association (VTA).

VTA CEO Peter Anderson said that while the VTA welcomes the Commonwealth’s agreement with Incitec Pivot to secure local production of refined urea for the supply of AdBlue, more needs to be done in the interim to stop the extraordinarily higher prices operators are now paying for this essential additive.

“We’ve had reports of operators being charged up to five times more for AdBlue today than they were paying last week,” said Anderson.

“Such exorbitant increases cannot be explained by demand exceeding supply alone and is a stark example of the manipulation that can occur in the absence of supply chain sovereignty of the basic inputs the transport industry needs, like fuel and labour, to avoid collapse.”

While much of the freight industry has been focussed on AdBlue shortages, the VTA has been pushing that the bigger picture issue facing Australia is too much dependency on imports for integrity in our supply chains.

“Covid has laid bare just how dependent we are on other nations for the supply of material and labour to keep our country running,” said Anderson.

“We are seeing this play out right now with higher inflation and consumer prices because of deficiencies in our supply chains from labour shortages and delays and shortages of spare parts, raw materials and other essential inputs to keep our fleets of trucks, trains and ships running.

“If we don’t attain higher levels of sovereignty with these key ingredients to support our industry, delays, shortages and higher prices will become the norm for every Australian.”

Anderson’s comments were echoed by Big Rigs’ readers on Facebook, in response to our recent article on AdBlue supply price hikes.

Chris Cartwright commented that, “without plan B’s you get panic driven task forces making knee jerk reactionary decisions instead of governing bodies making proactive plans.”

“I mean we’ve got desalination plants that are there “’just in case’ yet we’ve allowed this to become an issue,” he said.

Kam Ronz commented that the Caltex at Yass service centre was priced at $2.60 this morning cost him $104 for 40 litres. Similarly, Clyde Stocks reported that Shell Cranebrook in NSW was pricing AdBlue at $2.99, up from 80 cents.

Peter Cassin posted an image of Adblue being priced at $4 a litre.

Anderson said the solution to these issues was creating local industries to support supply chains, so our economy is less dependent on imported goods. This included dedicated training for a new generation of freight workers.

“State and local governments investing in and incentivising industries that can support the and supply the freight sector with fuel, engine additives, spare parts and other inputs, will see us be less beholden to foreign nations, with consumers the ultimate benefactors in the form of lower prices for goods and services,” he said.

For more on the fuel security issue, read Big Rigs’ article with John Blackburn, former deputy chief of the Royal Australian air force and an expert on fuel security.

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