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Worsening delays in Australian bulk terminals

Worsening delays in Australian bulk terminals

Sydney: Congestion at Newcastle, Australia's leading coal export facility, could get worse in the final weeks of the year and Simpson, Spence & Young's Australian Coal Port Congestion Index now stands at 10.6 days, the highest level since July 2005.

During the second week of December, 53 vessels were waiting for berths in Newcastle, with an average waiting time of just over three weeks. This is almost as bad as the record congestion that beset the port in early 2004.
Coal mining companies in the Hunter Valley have been predicting longer delays in Newcastle for some weeks, as a result of necessary planned maintenance of plant.

With average earning for Capesize bulk carriers at about $60,000 a day and Panamax vessels at about $30,000, the congestion is costing the industry dearly. But brokers point out that delayed vessels are a constraint on tonnage supply and therefore contribute to today's buoyant charter rates. Newcastle handled a record volume of trade in the 2005/6 financial year. Total throughput at the port reached 85.6m tonnes and the value of coal exports totalled about $5.3bn. [15/12/06]