Danish tyre industry tried to obstruct Danish transport companies
Prohibition of preventive sealing of tyres taken out of new guidelines after critical questions from DSV
Just before Christmas 2017 it was found that the Danish Road Safety Agency, in its new guidelines for trailer MOT, put a ban on all preventive sealing of tyres, which in the recent years have gained widespread popularity. The Danish Transport Agency had apparently introduced the ban due to safety problems in the use of preventive sealing, which was a mysterious conclusion for several transport companies as they had seen the opposite effects and saw major operational savings and a really improved security situation.
Public, accessible documents of the case showed that it was the Danish tyre industry that had pressured to get the ban in the new guidelines, but without documenting evidence of the existence of a security problem. On the contrary, convincing data was available which documented improved safety, environmental benefits and major operational savings when using Ultra-Seal the preventative tyre sealant product, which in recent years has attracted more and more satisfied users among (Danish) transport companies.
It was with great enthusiasm that DSV a few years ago became aware of Ultra-Seal which exists since 1969 in the United States and is widely used by the US transport industry and by the US Army. After completing a series of highly successful long-term Ultra-Seal tests, DSV decided to start using the product on its entire trailer fleet and acquired the rights to sell Ultra-Seal on the European market, where a lot of Danish and International transport companies now also have major benefits of the use of Ultra-Seal.
Ultra-Seal is a preventive tyre sealant liquid that protects the tyres from leaks, punctures and blowouts. DSV has documented that the use of Ultra-Seal has a number of positive effects, including improved safety in connection with punctures and blowouts, and significant benefits for the environment and economy. DSV's data on the use of Ultra-Seal showed 75% fewer tyre problems after equipping tyres with Ultra-Seal, and major environmental and economic gains in the form of 40% longer tyre life with total operating savings of 1 Million Euro per year. On top, Ultra-Seal gives up to 5% less fuel consumption. In addition to the prospect of losing these significant benefits, if it became illegal to use Ultra-Seal in the future in Denmark, the company was at the potential risk that thousands of trailers of which the tyres had been inserted with the Ultra-Seal product, would no longer be able to meet the new guidelines which would mean massive additional costs and severe problems in serving the company's customers if the trailers would have to be adjusted.
DSV therefore acted quickly and took a number of contacts both to the Danish Transport Agency and to several political key persons in the Ministry of Transport and the Parliament, which showed great responsiveness to the problems faced by the company. One of the people involved was the Liberal’s party transport spokesman Kristian Pihl Lorentzen, who was very critical about the new rules, which primarily meant a deterioration of the Danish transport industry's competitiveness. "We are very interested in a strong Danish transport industry, and of course we should not introduce rules that make Danish companies inferior to their foreign competitors," says Kristian Pihl Lorentzen. "As a transport politician, it is important that we are in close dialogue with the area's stakeholders, and I personally attach great importance to pay attention when a company like DSV addresses such issue. Especially in a case that was so obviously unfounded as this" he emphasizes.
As a result of DSV's rapid action, it managed to retract the prohibition of preventive sealing from the guidelines without causing any negative consequences for the transport industry.
The result has pleased Flemming Steiness, Director of DSV Equipment, who at the same time is extremely critical of the tyre industry's approaches in this case. "We have experienced a great deal of cooperation both from the Danish Road Safety Agency and from the political system in this case, which, luckily, has succeeded in resolving this very quickly," he says. "But I find it highly problematic in what way the tyre industry tries to protect their own market by questioning the safety of a product such as Ultra-Seal, which, in fact, improves tyre safety, solely because it naturally limits the demand for new tyres, because the tyres last longer and, moreover, can easily be recycled at the end. These are methods that we cannot accept in any way and, in reality, are doing harm to the business when they try to increase the demand for new tyres at the expense of both the environment and Danish companies' competitiveness" Flemming Steiness continues.
“The strangest thing is that we have always wanted a good dialogue with the tyre industry, in which we have an interest and close cooperation with. We have therefore repeatedly invited them to a round-table discussion including sharing our experience with Ultra-Seal but they have refused to meet with us, probably because they knew that they had a weak case. In the future, we will keep an even more watchful eye on them and be even more open about our own data and experiences, "concludes Flemming Steiness.