HEAVY rains cut Australian coal exports in February, as infrastructure damage affected shipments largely bound for Asia, a Wall Street Journal report has revealed.
Coal exports from Australia’s main coal terminals fell 11.5 per cent to 24.9 million tonnes, down from 28.2mt in January.
Throughput at the ports was down 23 per cent compared with December 2012, when exports peaked at 32.4mt.
In Queensland, shipments were disturbed after the tail-end of a tropical cyclone raged in the southeast and some rail links were closed due to flooding. Newcastle, the country’s biggest coal export port, recorded a 16.8 per cent fall
to 10.6mt month-on-month in February and Gladstone’s port reported a 10.2 per cent drop to 3.6mt, the lowest volume recorded in Gladstone since May 2011. Major coal producers such as Rio Tinto and Yancoal Australia were unable to fulfil some contracts due to the unforeseeable forces of nature. However, due to a number of coal port expansions, export volume increased by 13.4 per cent in February compared with the same month last year.
Australia is the biggest exporter of coking coal and the second-largest exporter of thermal coal in the world.