Australian Newcastle coal shipments sink to 12-week low in aftermath of rail strike
Singapore (Platts)--18Feb2013/820 am EST/1320 GMT
Disruption from a two-day strike by Pacific National rail workers in
early February continued to filter through the Newcastle supply chain for coal
exports last week, as shipments from the east Australian port slumped
38.5% to 1.82 million mt in the seven-day period ended Monday, said Newcastle
Port Corp in a report.
Total shipments from Newcastle's three coal terminals last week were the
lowest since a four-day planned outage of the port's railway network for
maintenance in the week ended November 26, or 12 weeks ago, when the
port shipped only 1.79 million mt.
Pacific National coal trains in New South Wales ground to a halt over a
48-hour period from mid-day February 8 to mid-day February 10, on industrial
action by workers in the company's coal haulage unit which moves coal for
several dozen mines in the Australian state.
Over February 4-11, Newcastle port's three coal terminals shipped 2.96
million mt after 32 ships called at the port that week, said NPC in a coal
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Port Waratah's two coal shipment facilities at Newcastle port appeared to
have accounted for almost all of Newcastle port's 1.82 million mt of coal
exports last week, according to a report from the Hunter Valley Coal Chain
The PWCS terminals loaded 1.8 million mt of coal exports on to 19 ships
in the seven-day period to Sunday, compared with 2.31 million mt on 27 ships
over February 4-10, said HVCCC.
Stocks of coal exports available for loading at the two PWCS terminals
had recovered to 939,000 mt on Sunday, after slumping to 635,000 mt a week
earlier, following the restart of Pacific National coal train services to the
facilities on February 10.
Figures for coal shipments from the Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group
terminal at Newcastle port were not published in HVCCC's report, and the
terminal does not routinely put such information into the public domain.
A total of 2.72 million mt of coal exports were railed to Newcastle's
three coal terminals -- both PWCS' two facilities and the Newcastle Coal
Infrastructure Group facility -- in the seven day period to Sunday, said
HVCCC's latest operating report.
The volume of cargoes assembled in the Hunter Valley coal chain which
serves 40 mines that deliver to Newcastle port was only 91,000 mt below the
coal chain coordinator's declared throughput target for the week period, said
HVCCC in its report.
"Member [cargo] losses finished the week at 6.3% compared to the declared
target of 14.1%," said the HVCCC in its latest report.
In the February 10-ended week which included the two-day rail strike,
2.40 million mt of coal exports were delivered by train to Newcastle port,
The number of ships waiting to load coal at the PWCS terminals at
Newcastle port stood at 12 vessels on Sunday, which was down from 15 ships
waiting for cargo a week earlier on February 10.
The HVCCC forecast that the number of ships queuing for cargoes at the
PWCS terminals at Newcastle was expected to rise through February to 23 ships
by the end of March.
"February's [vessel] nominations for PWCS are currently 8.1 million mt.
Based on current terminal demand, the queue at PWCS is estimated to be 18
[ships] at the end of February," said the coal chain coordinator in its
performance report, Sunday.
--Mike Cooper, email@example.com
--Edited by Geetha Narayanasamy, firstname.lastname@example.org