Newcastle Port vital artery for coal exports

Vessel queues at Newcastle Port have leapt to a six-week high, underlining the importance of the world’s largest coal export terminal.

The queue at Port Waratah Coal Services terminals grew from two ships to nine, the second longest so far in 2017.

It comes amid reports of a major change in the ownership of Newcastle Port, which is a vital terminal for coal shipments in Australia.

Newcastle Port is the world’s largest coal terminal with over 117 million tonnes of coal being exported every year to mainly Japan, Korea and Taiwan.

The Hunter Valley Coal Chain contains approximately 35 mines and involves heavy rail haulage covering 22,000 trips per year across 380km of track.

A history of successful mines in the Hunter Valley, feeding into Newcastle Port, has attracted a recent spate of investments and acquisitions.

Australia’s New Hope purchased a share in the Bengalla mine for $865 million – a deal which came into effect on 1 March 2017.

This was followed by bids for Dartbrook mine – expiring in mid-April – and for the assets of Rio Tinto’s Australian subsidiary Coal & Allied, a deal yet to be finalised.