AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Port expansion could run ahead of coal demand: report

<p>The unpredictability of world coal demand could leave some of Australia’s coal ports with surplus capacity, even if inflated forecasts are met, a new ABARE report has found.</p> <p>The Australian Coal Exports to 2025 report predicted Australia would make up 36% of world coal trading by 2025, up from 30% in 2005. </p> <p>Australia’s annual coal exports would grow by 2.7% for the next 20 years, driven by continued demand from China and India.</p> <p>The report found that Australia had missed an opportunity to capitalise on world coal demand because the supporting infrastructure was inadequate.</p> <p>Expansion plans for Queensland’s coal infrastructure and in the Hunter Valley would mean that most of the major ports would have sufficient capacity to meet demand by 2012.</p> <p>The report found that some ports, including Newcastle and Gladstone, would have between 30 and 50 m tonnes of surplus port capacity within the next five to 10 years. </p> <p>&#8220Under current infrastructure proposals, there is also the risk of too much capacity developing,&#8221 the report said. </p> <p>Australia’s thermal coal exports could more than double in the next 20 years, from 108m tonnes this year to as high as 225m tonnes in 2025.</p> <p>Metallurgical coal exports are projected to increase from 125m tonnes in 2005 to 210m tonnes by 2025, as total coal exports rise to between 353m tonnes and 435m tonnes, up from 233m tonnes in 2005.</p> <br />