2013 Australian Trucking Industry News — Truck Explosion Triggered Fuel Shortage on Eastern Seaboard

Last Tuesday, October 1, a petrol tanker explosion occurred in Sydney, Australia leaving two people dead. The incident had led authorities to investigate the case and inspect all of Cootes Transport, owner of the exploded petrol tanker. Major defects were found from the majority of the trucking company’s trucks. Due to this investigation, deliveries and supplies of fuel was disrupted causing shortage on Eastern Seaboard in Sydney.

Cootes Transport is now grounded which stirred another problem. While Cootes Transport is temporarily disabled from operation, the eastern seaboard is facing a problem on fuel shortage on the different gas stations. The fuel retailers are now desperate and are counting on the other truck companies for fuel deliveries and supplies.

“Well look, certainly we would urge against panic buying. We believe that this is a manageable risk. What it highlights is the vulnerabilities that exist in the fuel supply chain around Australia. We know that service stations on average only carry about three days’ supply. So when an unexpected situation like this occurs that can very quickly have a knock on effect that impacts motorists and businesses,” said Australian Automobile Association, Andrew McKellar.

According to the reports, the explosion happened at 4pm, last Tuesday near the northern beaches of Sydney. The tanker exploded when I had lost control and smashed into four cars. There were five people injured and was brought to the hospital including the taker driver. Several neighboring cars were terribly burned leading to the death of two people. They were identified as Peter Wem, 73 years old, and his friend from Western Australia who is 71 years old. The friends’ wives were pulled out from the fire but were unlucky to save the elderly men due to the strong fire.

During police investigation, a mechanical defect was found and is suspected to be the cause of the taker losing control. Due to this, Cootes Transport was in serious investigation by the authorities in the four states with. Apparently, the results are unpleasing.

“It was around 170 defects we’ve actually issued on those vehicles. So it is a significant number. Many of those are minor. There are, however, 71 vehicles that have been grounded and need significant work on them before they can get a roadworthy and be back on the road again,” said Peter Todd, CEO of Vicroads.

Furthermore, 174 defects were found in NSW, and this has drawn much attention from various motoring groups. “If one incident can lead to this sort of disruption throughout the supply chain then I think it really points to the fact that safety standards are not being maintained. That there isn’t adequate oversight,” said Andrew McKellar, Australian Automobile Association.

Due to these defects, the entire Australian trucking industry is subject to a detailed inspection with regard to truck safety. This had stimulated defensive responses from other motorists groups. . “I’d like to reassure the travelling public and the public at large that the vast majority of operators across Australia who cart fuel in tankers do so safely. They have an enviable record of safety right across the country and that’s something I think people should take comfort in,” said Stuart St. Clair, Australian Trucking Association

Issues on safety had been long a problem among trucking companies. At present, the Australian trucking industry is under a premier safety accreditation program, leaving McKellar to a final say, “There’s been certainly a very tragic set of circumstances here where people have lost their lives. It’s got to stop there. Lessons have got to be learnt and quick action has got to be taken to ensure that others in the community are not being placed at risk.”

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