Road transport and trucking groups have welcomed the news regarding the local production of refined urea, however, it must not be used to paper over serious supply chain cracks.
The Victorian Transport Association said while the agreement between the Federal Government and Incitec Pivot to produce the core ingredient of AdBlue was to be celebrated much more needed to be done in the interim to stop the the extraordinarily higher prices operators are now being forced to pay for the 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 Peter Anderson, VTA CEO.
“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,” he said.
According to some reports, service stations are fighting a losing battle, at the minute, to bring AdBlue to the pump faster than what it is currently going out.
Consumers, as a result, have now been limited to topping-up their vehicles.
Usually bigger fleets pay around 60 cents a litre for AdBlue while the pump price hovers around 90 cents.
Over the weekend diesel exhaust fluid, at some outlets, was being sold for as much as $4 a litre.
The National Road Transport Association Chairman Scott Davidson said expanding domestic manufacturing capacity was good news for the heavy vehicle industry in the long term, but he 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,” he said.
“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,” said Davidson.
Davidson was encouraged that an additional month’s supply of unrefined urea was on its way from Indonesia, but noted that its arrival in January would mean it would still have to be processed.