CTA questions Canadian fuel supply — again

TORONTO — The shortage of diesel fuel in western Canada has the Canadian Trucking Alliance questioning the nation’s refining capacity, and not for the first time.

In February 2007, the Ontario trucking industry suffered a shortage of diesel fuel following a fire at a refinery in Nanticoke, Ont. Western Canada even had a shortage earlier this year in March.

Currently, diesel supply in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba is being rationed as a number of refineries struggle to keep up supply during facility maintenance shutdowns.

The common underlying theme with each fuel supply shortage has been issues at the refinery level and has led the CTA to ask the important question: How could this happen?

“Given the current economic fragility, this is something Canada can ill-afford,” said David Bradley, president and CEO of the CTA. “The trucking industry is being put in the unenviable and untenable position of deciding which of its customers will be guaranteed service and which will not.”

As the largest consumer of diesel in the country, the CTA insists its time discuss refinery capacity with the federal government and the Canadian Petroleum Producers Institute.

Among the issues the CTA wishes to address are:

– What can be done to improve planning/coordination to ensure an adequate supply of diesel fuel remains available during periods of expected/unexpected refinery shutdowns?
– What can be done to improve the communication by the oil companies to their customers with regard to refinery closures and supply disruptions?
– What if any plans exist to add refining capacity in Canada specifically and in North America generally to ensure an adequate supply of diesel fuel in the future?

“Having a stable, sufficient and predictable supply of truck-grade diesel fuel is not only essential for the trucking industry, it is vital to the well-being of Canada,” added Bradley.

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