AusRAIL, Market Sectors

BBI reports $14.4m loss amid slowed coal supply and long queue of ships

<p>Babcock and Brown Infrastructure (BBI) reported losses yesterday (Tuesday, February 26) in its half of year business statement for 2008.</p> <p>BBI, the owner of the giant Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal (DBCT) in northern Queensland reported to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) a net loss of $14.6m in the six months ending December 31, compared with a profit of $23.4m for the same period a year earlier.</p> <p>The losses were reported amid the heavy weeks of rain and adverse weather conditions in Queensland, which had slowed progress on DBCT’s phase one upgrade, caused many mines in the area to shut down and had extended the queue of bulk carriers to 33.</p> <p>&#8220We lost four days over the weekend due to the rains,&#8221 DBCT general manager Greg Smith said.</p> <p>&#8220The expected finishing date for the upgrades is now scheduled for March 4.&#8221</p> <p>Mr Smith said the diminishing stockpiles of coal were also a worry.</p> <p>&#8220Right now we’ve only got around 400,000 tonnes of coal,&#8221 he said.</p> <p>&#8220That’s about mid range, good for about five ships.</p> <p>&#8220Our usual capacity is for around 700,000 to 800,000 tonnes.&#8221</p> <p>Mr Smith expected the terminal’s output to exceed its input soon if coal deliveries were not improved dramatically.</p> <p>&#8220There are 33 vessels waiting to be loaded at the moment,&#8221 he said.</p> <p>&#8220That’s 20 we can act on and 13 that are still waiting for coal to come out of the mine &#8211 13 vessels that don’t have any coal to load.&#8221</p> <p>The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) described the affect of heavy rains on reducing coal mines as a state-wide epidemic.</p> <p>&#8220There’s not a coal mine in the state that hasn’t been affected from the floods &#8211 from the north to as far south as the Surat Basin,&#8221 QRC representative Jim Devine said.</p> <p>Mr Devine was unable to comment on individual miners but with BHP Billition declaring <em>force majeure</em> on many of its contracts and a 3.7m-4.6m tonne loss of production it remained uncertain when coal production in Queensland would return to full capacity.</p> <br />