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Monday, January 9, 2012

Coal export through port of Newcastle increased by 10pct

Monday, 09 Jan 2012

It is reported that coal exports through the Port of Newcastle increased by about 10% last year reaching about 114 million tonnes. But income from the industry might not be a record with spot or one off sale prices well down on historic highs and lower quality export coal reportedly selling for less than USD 100 a tonne.

Newcastle has three coal loaders. Terminals at Carrington and Kooragang Island are operated by the Rio Tinto and Xstrata-backed Port Waratah Coal Services. A second Kooragang loader owned by the BHP Billiton-backed Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group began shipping in 2010.

Port Waratah publishes its exports but the infrastructure group does not, meaning that the annual Newcastle exports are an estimate based on the amount of coal arriving at the port from the mines.

In its latest monthly report, the Hunter Valley Coal Chain Co-ordinator which oversees the industry said 113.9 million tonnes of coal arrived at the port in the year to December 31. If as much coal left the port as came into it, the infrastructure group’s share of the total would be about 16million tonnes for the year.

The group could only use smaller handy or Panamax class ships until October when dredging of its shipping channels and berths was completed, allowing it to start using the large Cape class ships that dominate the Newcastle coal trade.

The infrastructure group and Port Waratah are expanding their operations and 2012 exports are expected to be substantially above the 2011 total.


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