Ship queue for Australian Newcastle coal exports shrinks on weak demand

By Curious

Fifteen ships were waiting to load coal exports at the queuing to load coal cargoes at the two Port Waratah-operated terminals at eastern Australia’s Newcastle port, down from a 23-week high of 22 ships last week, the Hunter Valley Coal Chain Coordinator said.

The shipping queue, a barometer of export demand, is expected to shrink further in the coming weeks.

Ship queue for Australian Newcastle coal exports shrinks on weak demand

Coal throughput lifts at the port of Newcastle Image: Southern Cross Maritime 

“Based on terminal demand, the PWCS queue is estimated to be less than 10 [ships] at the end of the month,” HVCCC said.

Twenty nine ships called at the PWCS terminals to load 2.25 million mt of coal exports last week, up from 2.11 million mt on 22 ships in the week to January 31.

“Planned [ship loading] rates were 298,000 mt below target while actual outbound performance was 164,000 mt below the declared outbound throughput,” the report said.

Port stocks at the PWCS terminals declined 450,000 mt last week to 1.4 million mt Sunday.

Coal producers that ship through the PWCS terminals are expecting ships to load 7.6 million mt of coal exports in February and 9.2 million mt in March.

A total of 2.95 million mt of coal was delivered by rail to Newcastle port’s three coal terminals in the seven-day period ended Sunday, down marginally from 2.98 million mt a week earlier.

HVCCC expected 3.55 million mt of coal exports to be railed to Newcastle port last week.

Throughput information for the Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group terminal at Newcastle port that is owned by five coal producers that include Peabody Energy, Yancoal and Whitehaven is not regularly published.

Rail deliveries of coal cargoes to Newcastle port are due to be suspended over a three-day period from February 23 to allow for planned maintenance, HVCCC said in a separate report.

In a separate report February 1, the port authority of New South Wales said 33 ships had been issued with an arrival time notice and were in transit to Newcastle port, down from 37 ships in transit to the eastern Australian port in the week ended January 25.

The port authority has yet to issue an updated operating report this week for Newcastle’s ship queue.

Source: Platts