Ontario Trucking Association

Ontario Trucking Association

February 27, 2007 09:07 ET

Diesel Fuel Shortage Could Soon Get Desperate for Truckers: OTA

Many areas of the province now facing supply disruptions

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Feb. 27, 2007) - The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) says that as of yesterday it has not received any reports of truckers having to shutdown or park rigs as a result of the current fuel shortage. But, according to the association, the situation appears to be growing worse day by day. The way the trucking industry purchases fuel is somewhat different than the way the average motorist buys gasoline. Because most trucking companies consume and purchase fuel in large quantities, they usually qualify for some sort of commercial discount over pump prices. Some trucking companies own bulk storage facilities at their terminal locations and receive deliveries of fuel in large quantity. On the highways, trucking companies have arrangements with a fuel supplier to use what is called a card-lock account (corporate account cards) at that supplier's retail locations or truck stops throughout the province. According to OTA both sources of fuel have been significantly impacted. A survey of OTA member companies conducted yesterday found:

- On the highways, advisories have been issued to customers by at least one major fuel retailer that stations in the Mississauga, North Bay, Sudbury, New Liskeard and Cochrane area may face critical supply issues and shortages and disruptions could occur in the Niagara Peninsula, London, Sault Ste. Marie and Windsor. Drivers are being advised that they should plan their fuel stops away from these critical supply areas if possible.

- A growing number of trucking companies are reporting that their bulk storage facilities are empty or very close to being empty and that their fuel suppliers are informing them that relief may not come for days. Companies that are receiving fuel supplies for their bulk facilities are being rationed.

- Trucking companies caught in this situation report that they cannot find relief from other fuel suppliers fearing a run on the supply needed to meet the demands of their current customers which is already showing signs of strain.

- The cost of diesel fuel - the second largest component of operating cost for most trucking companies and the single largest cost for an independent owner-operator has been dramatic so far, rising by up to 20% over the past several weeks.

Says OTA president, David Bradley, "We have not seen the worst of it yet even though many companies are scrambling to find fuel and prices continue to escalate. Depending on who their current fuel supplier is and how much fuel they have in underground storage tanks, some are feeling the impact of the fuel shortage sooner than others, but all are worried that if this goes on for much longer the situation could get desperate and their could be a run on diesel fuel."

OTA is still awaiting official word from the federal government on a proposal put forward by the association to allow truckers to temporarily use diesel fuel designated for off-road use. "This would provide relief in the short-term," says Bradley, "It is our understanding that the government is wading through the legalities, but for now we are hamstrung."

He said the association is planning on setting up a make-shift fuel matching service on its web site where members who have sufficient supply of diesel fuel could sell it to a member company who is short. "We are doing the best we can as an industry, but it gets tougher each day."

Contact Information

  • Ontario Trucking Association
    Rebecka Torn
    Manager, Communications
    (416) 249-7401 x 224 or Cell: (403) 993-6666
    1-866-713-4188 (FAX)
    Website: www.ontruck.org