AusRAIL, Market Sectors

ACCC gives final approval for Newcastle coal quotas

<p>Port Waratah Coal Services (PWCS) has cleared the last hurdle in shifting coal companies back to coal chain rationing through the port of Newcastle.</p> <p>The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission yesterday (Wednesday, May 23) granted PWCS a final determination which authorised the coal terminal operator to reinstate the capacity system.</p> <p>The Hunter coal chain voted in February to reverse a decision five months earlier to scrap the system 12 months before it was due to expire &#8211 a decision that took effect from January 1 this year.</p> <p>But inflated queues caused by maintenance shutdowns, a high vessel arrival rate and other factors encouraged coal companies to introduce an amended system, which gained interim ACCC approval in March and a draft determination in April. </p> <p>ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said PWCS could now operate the system until December 31, as originally intended when it was introduced in 2005.</p> <p>The decision is expected to save coal companies about $175m in demurrage.</p> <p>Cutbacks to coal quotas are expected to severely deflate the queue of 60 ships this week down to the preferred operating queue of 22 by August.</p> <p>The Hunter Valley Coal Chain Logistics Team &#8211 comprising all the port and rail providers &#8211 chose to limit quotas in order to address a queue that peaked at almost 80 ships in the first quarter.</p> <p>The team’s weekly report indicates that coal producers have collectively forecast just 6.8m tonnes of coal exports in May, despite the chain offering 7.6m tonnes of capacity.</p> <p>The coal chain is expected to be providing between 1.2m and 1.8m tonnes of surplus monthly capacity between now and the end of July.</p> <br />