Hauliers raise concerns over threat to fuel supplies
The Irish Road Haulage Association has written to the Government to raise concerns about a threat to the continuity of fuel supplies, due to the war in Ukraine.
The IRHA said that as an industry that relies on diesel to power its fleet, it is “deeply concerned” at the prospect of a tightening of supplies.
“We have already seen the price of fuel increase rapidly as a consequence of scarcities in supply and these shortages have placed our sector in a perilous position,” IRHA President Eugene Drennan wrote in a letter to the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Minister for the Environment.
“Any threat to the continuity of fuel supplies will have serious implications for the national economy in addition to our own sector.”
Oil prices have soared in recent days, hitting $120 a barrel, amid concern that the invasion of Ukraine will impact on Russian oil supplies.
Russia accounts for 10% of global oil supplies and the country is the EU’s biggest oil trading partner.
Fuel prices at Irish pumps are creeping closer to the €2 a litre mark, as wholesale increases are passed on to consumers.
The IRHA has called for a high-level Cabinet sub-committee to be convened to manage the national response to the challenges, with continuity of supply a priority.
It is also seeking some public indication on the adequacy of Ireland’s national fuel reserve stocks to address concerns that shortages might arise.
The lobby group also wants the Government to ensure the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission undertakes pre-emptive action to ensure that there is no price gouging or concerted market action, through price signalling or other means by oil distributors.
The association thinks a contingency plan needs to be developed to manage the distribution of fuel to sectors with the highest priority needs.
The IRHA also wants the Government to take urgent steps to reduce the price of fuel for members through a reduction in excise on fuel, an increase in the relief available through the Diesel Rebate Scheme and the suspension of tolls on national routes for heavy goods vehicles.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar says any Government intervention on the cost of fuel will take place as part of a wider European response to the ongoing crisis.
“People will have to wait until we have the European Commission paper done on this because whatever we do to help people and help businesses with the cost of fuel…we need to do it in consort with other European governments,” he said.
Mr Varadkar said the wider economic consequences of the war in Ukraine were very difficult to predict because nobody knew how long it would go on for and what the impacts on supply chains for energy were going to be.