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Hay Point Coal Exports Fall After Queensland Floods

Shipments from Australia’s Hay Point port, the biggest export harbor for steelmaking coal, dropped 14 percent in January from a month earlier as mines and rail networks recovered from flooding and heavy rain in Queensland.

Coal exports from the harbor’s Dalrymple Bay and Hay Point terminals reached 5.54 million metric tons, compared with 6.46 million in December, according to figures on North Queensland Bulk Ports Corp.’s website. This compares with 8.37 million in January 2010. The harbor is about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) north of the state capital of Brisbane.

Steelmakers may be forced to pay as much as 78 percent more for hard coking coal after floods in Australia curbed output in the biggest exporting nation for the fuel, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Production was further disrupted after mines, ports and rail networks were shut before Tropical Cyclone Yasi hit the Queensland coast on Feb. 3.

Australian free-on-board prices may increase to $400 a metric ton for three-month contracts starting April 1, from $225 a ton this quarter, Merrill Lynch analysts led by Sydney-based Alex Tonks said in a Jan. 25 report. This compares with the bank’s Jan. 11 forecast of $330 a ton for the second quarter.

Coal exports from Abbot Point, north of Hay Point, reached 1.28 million tons in January, compared with 1.68 million in December, the North Queensland Bulk Ports website shows. The terminal is more than 1,100 kilometers north of Brisbane.

Free-on-board is a term indicating that delivery at the seller’s expense is included in the invoice price.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Sharples in Melbourne at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Clyde Russell at

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