Toll have picked up a major fuel distribution contract with Shell estimated to be worth around $250 million over the next five years. The contract involves bulk fuel deliveries to servos in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.
The move by Shell can be seen as one where it is contracting with a distribution supplier regarded as a ‘safe pair of hands’ after the crisis in confidence set off by the fuel tanker accident last year which caused concern on the part of regulators, customers and the general public when two people were killed and a fuel tanker burned, blocking the Mona Vale Road in Sydney.
The consequences of the incident at the time involved a crackdown on the trucking operator involved and some hard words from the NSW Roads Minister. A major exposé of the situation in a television documentary is also said to be in the pipeline. This is likely to further compound pressure on fuel transportation operations and, due to the chain of responsibility rules, open their fuel company customers up to the risk of some liability.
No wonder Shell have come down on the side of caution and chosen to enter into a five year deal with the nation’s biggest transport operation and the reassurance of dealing with a major corporation with the kind of gravitas required and equipped with a large legal team to minimise liability.
Historically, Toll have had a strong relationship with Shell both as a fuel distribution contractor but also as one of the biggest buyers of diesel fuel in Australia. A press release said contracts are expected to be finalised in the coming weeks.
“We are really pleased to be expanding our business with Shell,” said Toll Liquids General Manager, Tim Kehoe. “Our businesses are well aligned in our determination to put safety first at all times and Shell has recognised this in awarding the work to Toll. This contract supports our fuel distribution strategy perfectly and further confirms Toll’s commitment to sustainable investment in the sector.”