By Nathan Richardson
February 3, 2018 - Shipments of coal from Australia's Port Kembla Coal Terminal in January stood at 305,851 mt, down by 29% year on year and 37% lower from December, data released by the operator of the terminal on Thursday showed.
PKCT has been at odds with its staff recently, locking out union workers in January. PKCT was unavailable for comment on the impact, if any, this had on exports.
The terminal's operations manager John Gorman was quoted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on January 17 saying that the lockout was done to avoid further union-ordered work stoppages as the company was facing a slump in coal exports. "Coal exports have been declining here for many years," he said.
"At its peak, we were exporting 14.4 million mt of coal through this facility. This year, we are expecting to do 5 million mt. So, we are almost at a third of what we were at," he added. In 2017, PKCT shipped 5.45 million mt of coal. Volumes shipped out through the terminal have been impacted in recent months due to a production suspension at South32's Appin Colliery from June-October. The mine is not expected to return to its usual two longwall configuration until October-December. Wollongong Coal halted operations at its Wongawilli colliery in May due to the mining contractor entering into voluntary administration.
Earlier this week, Wollongong Coal said in its quarterly report that saleable coal production from Wongawilli rose from just 3,513 mt in the July-September quarter last year to 30,431 mt in the October-December period. The mine produced 121,648 mt of saleable coal in the January-March 2017 quarter, prior to the issue with the contractor.
On Thursday, port stocks at PKCT stood at 192,893 mt, up 6% on the month. There was one vessel in queue and one assembled, data from the operator showed.
PKCT services the southern and western coalfields of New South Wales.