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Queueing coal ships unaffected by loading ban: PWCS

<p>Port Waratah Coal Services (PWCS) said no queued vessels at the port of Newcastle would be refused coal loading under approved plans to ban slow-loading ships from June 7.</p> <p>Shipping Australia chief Llew Russell yesterday (Thursday, May 31) expressed concern that the policy &#8211 which targets ships with slow deballasting times &#8211 did not give shipowners enough time to make alternative arrangements.</p> <p>Mr Russell called for an urgent review of the decision, which will affect 70 bulkers which typically visit the port at least once a year.</p> <p>PWCS said the decision &#8211 which has the support of the coal producers and the coal chain members &#8211 could free up another 1.5m tonnes of annual shiploading capacity.</p> <p>Poor performing vessels represent about 8% of about 1,000 coal ships visiting the port each year.</p> <p>PWCS general manager Graham Davidson was quick to allay fears that the ban would affect ships already in the queue or already sailing to the port.</p> <p>The port of Newcastle requires coal producers to nominate weeks in advance which ship they plan to use for each shipment &#8211 nominations which PWCS either accepts or rejects.</p> <p>From June 7, PWCS plans to reject nominations for ships that it has identified as having inferior deballasting speeds.</p> <p>The ban means that about 50 vessels will be unable to use the two coal terminals, and a further 20 will be restricted to the Carrington Coal Terminal.</p> <p>Some shipowners have moved to improve their ships, including upgrading pumps, to ensure their vessels will be able to continue loading from the port.</p> <p>Mr Davidson said PWCS would review the status of any vessel if the owner could demonstrate improved loading performance.</p> <p>PWCS had made the move as part of discussions with industry about the need to free up additional coal chain capacity, Mr Davidson said.</p> <p>&#8220In this process, PWCS has identified a number of vessels that have load rates far less than PWCS ship loading capacity,&#8221 Mr Davidson said. </p> <p>&#8220This results in extended delays and additional demurrage costs for our customers.&#8221</p> <p>PWCS wants ships using the Kooragang Island Coal Terminal to be able to receive coal at a gross load rate of more than 4,500 tonnes an hour.</p> <p>The Kooragang loaders can operate at up to 10,500 tonnes an hour, although its reclaimers are limited to 8,000 tph. </p> <br />