S Africa bunker problems slow down Indian thermal coal buying

Kalimantan Coal
Reuters quoted Indian traders said that Indian coal buyers are avoiding shipping from South Africa’s Richards Bay Coal Terminal put off by much slower bunker fuelling and higher bunker prices.Shipping sources said that the Smit Bongani barge which usually supplies bunker fuel to berthed vessels at RBCT is being double-hulled in Durban for 3 months. During this period it is replaced by the Marine Excellence which has a much lower uplift capacity and pumping rate.One major Indian coal importer said that “There is scarce supply of bunker currently at RBCT and problems with the barges. This is one of the reasons why we are not keen to be lifting South African cargoes at present.”A shipping source said that “It’s probably more of a hassle factor than a price factor at the moment. I’m not sure how far bunker prices have risen but the queue for bunkering is quite long, so using the smaller barge is causing delays.”Indian imports of South African coal are likely to be close to 12 million tonnes in 2009 up from 10 million of 2008.Imports always slow during the June to September monsoon season but some importers are still trying to ship South African coal to the Indian ports least affected by monsoon weather during this period.(Sourced from Reuters)

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