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DBCT’s 28-day queue cuts into Macarthur production

<p>The wording has changed but the message emanating from coal companies remains the same: port and rail congestion is limiting their ability to move coal.</p> <p>Fresh from downgraded profit results released by some of the major coal companies in the last fortnight, Queensland-based Macarthur Coal has scaled back its production target for 2006&#4707 by about 18%.</p> <p>Macarthur had hoped to have its two open-cut operations &#8211 Coppabella Mine and the Moorvale Mine &#8211 produce 4.5m tonnes between them this year as the company looked to bring another five mines online by 2010.</p> <p>The company blames production problems and "off-mine-site infrastructure constraints" for dropping its production back to 3.7m tonnes this year. </p> <p>Macarthur’s saleable production was cut back by about 36% when compared with the same quarter last year. </p> <p>Macarthur highlighted the extensive queues at Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal as having contributed to the fall. </p> <p>"Shipping congestion has increased with over 45 ships anchored off Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal awaiting loading," Macarthur said in a statement. </p> <p>"Loading delays have increased from 14 days, at the end of February, to 28 days at the end of March.&#8221</p> <p>The 28-day waiting times experienced by Macarthur’s customers at DBCT, are worse than the 27-day wait at the port of Newcastle, which has 74 ships waiting to load about 6.4m tonnes.</p> <p>The port congestion and weather interruptions had contributed to a 49% drop in Macarthur’s production for the March quarter to just 672,000 tonnes.</p> <p>Sales were also down for the quarter, dropping to 1.1m tonnes.</p> <p>"Despite the change to the sales target, forecast net profit after tax of $63m to $73m remains unchanged," Macarthur said.</p> <br />