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Newcastle Coal Ship Queue Longest in Two Years as Exports Slow
By Jesse Riseborough
Dec. 22 (Bloomberg) — The queue of coal ships waiting at Australia’s Newcastle port, the world’s biggest export harbor for the fuel, stretched to its longest in more than two years as exports slowed for a second week.
Sixty ships, waiting to load 4.2 million tons of coal, were outside the harbor at 7 a.m. local time yesterday, up from 52 vessels a week earlier, Newcastle Port Corp. said on its Web site. The queue is the longest since July 2007.
The volume exported last week fell 1.1 percent to 1.91 million metric tons, after slipping 0.1 percent the week before. Coal ships queued for an average 13.2 days, up from 11.7 days the week before, the port said. The waiting time compared with 0.1 days for general-cargo vessels.
Power-station coal prices at Newcastle, a benchmark for Asia, rose 1.5 percent to $81.06 a ton for the week ended Dec. 18, the first gain in four weeks, according to the globalCOAL NEWC Index.
Rio Tinto Group, Xstrata Plc and BHP Billiton Ltd. are among mining companies that ship coal through the harbor.