World's Biggest Coal Harbor Shipped Record Volumes From Australia in June

Coal shipments from Australia’s Hay Point port, the world’s biggest export harbor for the commodity, climbed to a record in June as the coordination of rail deliveries improved.

Coal exports reached 10.1 million metric tons from the harbor’s Dalrymple Bay and Hay Point terminals, according to figures on the North Queensland Bulk Ports Corp.’s website. Both facilities shipped a monthly record, Port authority spokeswoman Rachel Campbell said today in an e-mailed response to questions.

“The rate was achieved by reducing the number of train cancelations” and increasing the volume of coal railed to the port, Dalrymple Bay General Manager of operations Greg Smith said in e-mailed response to questions. Fewer trains need to be canceled because planning between the terminal owners, rail operators and track owner QR National has improved, he said.

Hay Point port, about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) north of Brisbane in Queensland state, has the capacity to export 129 million metric tons a year. Brazil and India should drive long- term demand for steelmaking coal because of a lack of domestic supply, according to Deutsche Bank AG. Rio Tinto Group, Xstrata Plc, BHP Billiton Ltd. and Peabody Energy Corp are among mining companies that ship the commodity from the harbor.

Exports from Dalrymple Bay, which ships 80 percent of its coal to steelmakers, reached 6.1 million tons in June. The terminal, which has the capacity to export 85 million tons, shipped 63.1 million tons in the 12 months ended June 30.

Berths Closed

The volume exported from the Hay Point terminal, operated by the BHP Billiton-Mitsubishi Alliance, was 4.05 million tons. The facility, which has a capacity of 44 million tons, shipped 36.3 million tons in the 12 months ended June 30.

BHP Billiton-Mitsubishi Alliance and Prime Infrastructure Group, which owns the lease and development rights for Dalrymple Bay, this month closed berths at Hay Point port for planned maintenance. QR National will also shut down the rail system servicing the harbor starting today for scheduled maintenance.

Shutting one of four berths at Dalrymple Bay is unlikely to have a “material impediment” on exports, Smith said July 8. Any impact from the berth closure at Hay Point terminal will be reflected in BHP’s production report on July 21, Melbourne-based spokeswoman Fiona Martin said the same day.

Coal shipments from Abbot Point, north of Hay Point port, reached 1.67 million tons in June, the highest volume since December, the North Queensland Bulk Ports website shows.

Newcastle Shipments

The terminal exported 16.9 million tons in the 12 months to June 30. The harbor is being enlarged to 50 million tons in 2011 from 21 million tons now.

Shipments from Australia’s Newcastle, the world’s biggest export port for coal burned by power stations, rose 1.2 percent last week, Newcastle Port Corp. said on its website yesterday. The volume exported in the week ended 7 a.m. local time July 12 climbed to 1.86 million metric tons from 1.84 million tons in the preceding period.

Rising power demand in China and India is expected to underpin a “positive thermal coal outlook,” Deutsche analysts led by Sydney-based Brendan Fitzpatrick said in a June 30 client note.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Sharples in Melbourne at bsharples@bloomberg.net

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.