Coal ships queue in Dalrymple Bay waiting to load at Mackay.
Coal ships queue in Dalrymple Bay waiting to load at Mackay.

Coal ships off coast has now reached 70

THE fleet of coal ships off the coast has reached 70 and the delays stretching out until mid-January.

Two weeks ago the number of ships waiting was about 50 but delays continue to dog the industry as coal companies are forced to delay shipments until the coast clears.

At Dalrymple Bay, the management company in charge of the port said it had faced unprecedented demand for coal.

The delays are also impacting the price for the commodity. Coking coal, used in the production of steel, has jumped to $US220 a tonne while thermal coal, used in steel production, is edging towards $US100 a tonne.

A handful of ships are also at Abbot Point, near Bowen.

But analysts AME said the three major export terminals in north Queensland were down 5 per cent and at the lowest monthly volume since May.

At Dalrymple Bay AME said exports were down 22 per cent since October, amid vessel queues reaching the highest levels since 2010.

"Between Dalrymple Bay and the adjacent Hay Point terminals, around 65 vessels are currently waiting to be loaded as of early December.

"Several coal producers, such as Stanmore Coal, have been forced to defer planned shipments from December into January.''



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