LPG shortages likely to hit South Coast

THE Shoalhaven, along with much of NSW, could soon have a shortage of LPG.

Senior manager of the Service Station Association MTA, Colin Long said with Cootes Transport tankers that deliver LPG around the state being taken off the roads, motorists could soon be faced with shortages.

After one of the Victorian based company’s trucks was involved in a horrific accident at Mona Vale in Sydney’s north earlier this year, safety authorities in NSW and Victoria started inspecting all trucks belonging to Cootes.

Mr Long said another of Cootes’ trucks was found to be leaking gas last week when it was inspected at a weigh inspectional centre in the Marulan Goulburn area.

“Our understanding is the RMS has ordered all Cootes LPG tankers off the road until they can all be inspected again and ensure they are safe,” Mr Long said.

“This will have a major impact on LPG distribution to service stations throughout the state, including the Shoalhaven region.

“Cootes deliver around 80 per cent of the LPG in the state.

“I can see a situation where sites start running out and that would be disastrous. There are a lot of cars on the road that use LPG.

“It is really putting the service stations between a rock and a hard place.

“There is not a shortage of LPG; it’s the distribution that’s the problem.

“There is nothing wrong with fuel deliveries, just LPG.

“Cootes supply LPG to Coles Express, BP, 711, Budget and Caltex.

“All the companies rely on Cootes and them being off the road is going to have a ripple effect.

“There is no alternative to get deliveries.”

He said complaints had already been received from parts of Sydney and the Illawarra that LPG stocks were running low.

Mr Long said one company did manage to obtain a tanker from Queensland to try to help with deliveries but it also had a broken down gantry and therefore could not be used.

“Companies need to look at their distribution, not just LPG but fuel as well, they need to diversify - they have too many eggs in one basket,” he said.

“In the old days they each had their own trucking fleets that distributed their products and they undertook all their own maintenance as well.

“But now they have outsourced to tender and they take the lowest price which is not real good when you are carting dangerous goods.”

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