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Coal exports from Australia’s Gladstone port remain weak in February

Coal exports from Australia’s Gladstone port remain weak in February

Export volumes of coal from the Port of Gladstone in Queensland, Australia, remained depressed in February, data from the Gladstone Ports Corp. showed Tuesday, as more rail issues developed.

A total of 4.86 million mt of coal was shipped from the port during February, down by 9% year on year and 3% higher than the nine-month low set in January.

The Blackwater rail line, which connects mines in the region to the Port of Gladstone, was impacted by a flooding following storms in Queensland in the second half of February. The Blackwater line also faced some speed restrictions throughout the month due to excessive heat. Rail lines to the port were impacted in January due to a train derailment, which saw services offline for five days.

The Blackwater system services mines such as Kestrel, Ensham, Curragh, Blackwater, Rolleston, Emerald and Gregory — linking them to two export terminals at Gladstone, RG Tanna and Wiggins Island. Major miners in the region include Wesfarmers, BHP Mitsubishi Alliance, Jelinbah Resources and Glencore.

Exports to China from Gladstone stood at 878,000 mt during the month, bouncing back some 106% from January but remaining 8% lower on the year, the GPC data showed.

Japan remained the largest supply destination, with 1.65 million mt of coal exports from Gladstone. However, it was lower by 4% from January and up 8% from a year earlier. February last year was a particularly weak month for coal exports from Gladstone.

Exports to India from Gladstone were at a three-year low of 802,000 mt, down 18% year on year and 44% from January, the GPC data showed. The February volume to India was the lowest since February 2015 when 649,000 mt was shipped.

Meanwhile, Gladstone coal exports to South Korea bounced back on the month to 920,000 mt but remained 7% lower on the year. February’s shipment was up by 33% from January.

Meanwhile, shipments to Taiwan were little changed month on month, remaining low at 179,000 mt — up 1% from January but down 49% on the year, the GPC data said.

Approximately 70% of coal handled at the Port of Gladstone is metallurgical coal, with the remaining 30% being thermal.


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