Incitec Pivot Limited's announcement before Christmas to ramp up production of the diesel exhaust fluid, AdBlue "instilled a bit of confidence back in the game", says Australian Trucking Association chairman David Smith.
"My own business would be prepared to pay a bit more to gain some assurance in terms of local production," Mr Smith said.
Mr Smith said businesses were paying double what they had previously and he recognised prices may never return to the same level, but hoped it would scale back somewhat.
He said areas remained where AdBlue was still in short supply, including the Riverina and South Coast, although some stock had been delivered to Parkes, Jerilderie and Goondiwindi.
Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Queensland president Gerard Johnson said most people would be happy to pay a reasonable premium to support onshore production, whether it was for AdBlue or diesel.
"I think it's obviously a good idea, along with our fuel supply, to have some sort of reserve for a few months on hand at least," he said.
But, not all agreed.
Western Australia transport operator David Fyfe was "over the moon" when he heard Incitec Pivot would increase production onshore, but said securing local supplies was a government matter and that is what people elected government to do.
Incitec Pivot received $29.4 million in federal government funding in the days leading up to Christmas ("Incitec to ramp up high grade urea output", The Land, December 23, p8) to secure supplies of the diesel exhaust fluid.
An Incitec Pivot spokesperson said its teams had been working non-stop throughout the holiday period to expand domestic AdBlue manufacturing and distribution capability.
"Production facilities at our Gibson Island plant in Brisbane are moving to 24/7 operations, including quality assurance testing of AdBlue volumes," the spokesperson said.
"Longer term, we are assessing the manufacture of technical grade urea to directly replace what was previously imported."
A spokesperson for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor said the government would continue working with industry to ensure it remained fully supplied with AdBlue following the withdrawal of Chinese supply.
"Incitec Pivot's additional production is only one element of Australia's response to the urea supply disruption," the spokesperson said. "Through the ongoing National Coordination Mechanism and supplier meetings, the government is also continuing to work with other AdBlue manufacturers."
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