Supermarkets urged to better support supply chain

Coles truck in NSW.

The overnight news that Scott’s Refrigerated Logistics is in voluntary administration sends a message that it’s time to cut the heavy vehicle industry some slack according to the National Road Transport Association.

“Scott’s is a vital link in the backbone of an essential industry,” said NatRoad CEO Warren Clark.

“It’s not only 1500 jobs at risk – there’s a ripple effect throughout the entire supply chain,” he said.

“My heart goes out to all the drivers affected, many of them sub-contractors to the supermarkets and NatRoad members, and I can only hope the administrator quickly finds a buyer for the business.

“Surely this sends a message that enough is enough and our industry can’t take any more hits.”

Clark called for national transport ministers to freeze road user and registration charges, urging the Federal Government to look at additional concessions for the heavy vehicle industry in its May Budget.

Soaring diesel prices, global knock-on effects of the Ukraine war, higher AdBlue costs and the impact of the previous government’s six-month fuel tax cut were all hitting operators.

“From 1 April to 18 August 2022, some 2,000 heavy on-road transport operators had to negotiate payment arrangements with the ATO because of the fuel tax Budget decision,” said Clark.

“It’s been one thing after another since COVID-19 and long-standing driver and diesel mechanic shortages are adding to the burden,” he said.

The impact of any disruption of the supply chain ultimately risks higher prices for consumers said Clark.

“This also underlines that big supermarkets also have a responsibility to ensure the supply chain is properly supported,” he said.

“The contracts they offer need to enable supply chain road freight operators to be viable.

“Many people, including sub-contract drivers and small trucking operators, depend on them for their future.”

A Coles spokesman said the supermarket chain was working to limit the impact of the collapse of Scott’s on shoppers.

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