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Rail infrastructure lagging behind Gladstone coal capacity

<p>A shortage of stockpiled coal at the port of Gladstone would leave RG Tanna Coal Terminal with surplus capacity this year, Central Queensland Ports Authority chief Leo Zussino told <em>Lloyd’s List DCN</em> this morning (Monday, May 28).</p> <p>There are 28 bulkers queuing for Gladstone due largely to a seven-day shutdown of one of the terminal’s shiploaders.</p> <p>A new $200m shiploader will be eased into full capacity by July.</p> <p>It is presently handling one ship each week.</p> <p>Mr Zussino said there was no need to speed up the commissioning of the 10mtpa loader because there was not enough coal at the port to ship.</p> <p>&#8220Given the lack of coal on the ground, we’re taking the commissioning nice and easy,&#8221 Mr Zussino said.</p> <p>&#8220If we had the ability the get a lot of stock in, we would have more resources put on the third shiploader to ramp it up faster but we don’t have that pressure.</p> <p>&#8220On the shipping side, we could actually ship well over 70m tonnes per annum but, again, at this stage the rail infrastructure is lagged behind that.&#8221</p> <p>Gladstone is instead on target to deliver just over 60mtpa this year, having exported 18% more coal in the 10 months to April, than it did for the same period in 2005&#4706.</p> <p>QR is facing mounting criticism of the adequacy of its Queensland coal operations, but Mr Zussino said the rail-operator was &#8220trying hard to make it happen&#8221.</p> <p>Mr Zussino said he agreed with comments by QR’s acting chief, Stephen Cantwell, who had said that QR was &#8220meeting its obligations under the current contractual framework&#8221 in relation to Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal. </p> <p>The coal chain was a complex issue and QR was not helped by a shortage of skilled labour for track upgrades in the Blackwater system, Mr Zussino said.</p> <p>CQPA would not comment on the rail infrastructure, as it was the responsibility of QR, Mr Zussino said.</p> <p>&#8220I don’t want to talk about the contracts because these are some issues that I think you’re better off talking to Steve Cantwell about,&#8221 Mr Zussino said.</p> <p>&#8220At the end of the day, there are mines out there that have got stockpiles that are overfull and that want to get the stuff to the port.</p> <p>&#8220There are mines that are well behind on their production schedules.</p> <p>&#8220It’s the cooperation between the three parties that gets the best result.&#8221</p> <p>Mr Zussino expected the queue to remain steady for several weeks.</p> <br />