Prior to Christmas the ACCC granted an urgent interim authorisation permitting manufacturers and other industry stakeholders to collaborate on arrangements for the supply of the diesel exhaust fluid.
Better known as ‘AdBlue’, diesel exhaust fluid is used in most modern diesel vehicles to control noxious emissions.
AdBlue manufacturers had been seeking to share information and work together to develop solutions to any potential future shortages of refined urea, a key ingredient in AdBlue, as part of a coordinated government and industry response to current global pressures on the supply of urea.
It is understood the ACCC’s interim authorisation allows AdBlue manufacturers to cooperate in a number of ways without the risk of breaching competition laws.
“This permits the industry, in conjunction with government, to co-ordinate and respond more quickly and effectively to any supply constraints of urea,” said ACCC Chair Rod Sims.
Following the interim authorisation, the parties can collaborate on issues such as sharing information about stock levels, supply channels and manufacturing opportunities, prioritising access to refined urea and AdBlue according to need (for example, to particular geographical areas or consumers), collaborating on the production of AdBlue and implementing sales limits.
“This enables AdBlue manufacturers and the Australian Government to consider the best way to respond to any potential future supply constraints,” Sims said.
“The manufacturers’ co-ordination of their response with the Government is an important step in providing a regular supply of AdBlue which is critical to our nation’s transportation sector, food production and the broader economy,” he continued.
“Importantly the coordination allowed under the interim authorisation can only occur with the oversight of the Federal Government.
“AdBlue manufacturers are also required to invite the ACCC to any meetings where these issues are discussed.”
Authorisation has not been sought, and interim authorisation has not be granted, for AdBlue manufacturers to share information about or reach agreements on price.
Feedback on the application for authorisation is currently sought after by the ACCC.