Newcastle Coal Exports Fall 10% as Ship Queue Drops (Update1)

Kalimantan Coal

By Ben Sharples
Aug. 4 (Bloomberg) — Coal shipments from Australia’s Newcastle port, the world’s biggest export harbor for the fuel, fell 10 percent last week while the number of vessels waiting to load decreased.
The volume exported in the week ended 7 a.m. local time yesterday was 1.75 million metric tons, compared with 1.94 million tons a week earlier, Newcastle Port Corp. said on its Web site. Thirty-seven ships, waiting to load 2.99 million tons of coal, were outside the harbor, down from 40 vessels.
Coal ships queued for an average 16.2 days to load, up from 12.4 days a week earlier, Newcastle Port said. The waiting time compared with 0.4 day for general cargo vessels, it said.
Twenty-two vessels carrying coal sailed in the week ended Aug. 1, Newcastle Port said today in an e-mailed report. Twelve ships were bound for Japan, four for South Korea, three for China, two for Taiwan and one for Mexico.
Power-station coal prices at Newcastle port, a benchmark for Asia, fell 1.9 percent to $76.58 a ton in the week ended July 31, according to the globalCOAL NEWC Index.
Rio Tinto Group, Xstrata Plc and BHP Billiton Ltd. are among mining companies that ship coal through Newcastle.
To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Sharples in Melbourne Last Updated: August 3, 2009 20:03 EDT

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