Although welcoming news that the government has taken steps to boost AdBlue stocks, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) remains concerned that the suppliers are yet to provide facts and figures about immediate demand and supply issues.
The ATA met yesterday with government to discuss the announcement. The ACCC authorisation for the suppliers to discuss these matters is not scheduled until this Wednesday.
ATA Chair, David Smith said the meeting allayed some of the ATA’s concerns.
“We are reassured by the government’s commitment to addressing the AdBlue shortage. Striking a deal with Incitec Pivot to secure local production of refined urea is just common sense,” said Smith.
“We also welcome the negotiation with Indonesia to secure more AdBlue in January 2022. This will give Australia’s truck operators the breathing room they need while we wait for our local supply to increase.
“However, we have operators calling us from across Australia telling us that they’re nearly out of AdBlue. The ATA intends to work closely with government on contingency plans. The ATA also supports an industry proposal for an AdBlue hotline.
“We will continue to work with the government to secure a sensible solution.”
Victorian Transport Association CEO Peter Anderson also welcomed the new agreement with Incitec Pivot to secure local production of refined urea.
But added that 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.”
NatRoad chairman Scott Davidson said expanding domestic manufacturing capacity was good news for the heavy vehicle industry in the long term, but he also remained concerned about supply in the immediate term.
“Since late last week, we have been hearing from operators, some of them quite large, who no longer have adequate supply to keep their trucks on the road,” Davidson said.
“We are encouraged that there is an additional month’s supply of unrefined urea on its way from Indonesia, but note that it won’t be here until January and it will still need to be processed.
“The price of AdBlue has gone through the roof since the shortage began and we echo the government’s call to suppliers to give customers a fair deal at the bowser.”