Twenty-one ships were delayed at the Richards Bay Coal terminal in South Africa Wednesday, up from 12 last week, according to cFlow, Platts trade flow software.
Delays had been easing the last two weeks as adverse weather conditions in the area subsided, but high wind and swells reduced the operating schedule of the port and caused the number of delayed ships almost to double.
As well as the weather, increased shipping from the terminal in the last few weeks had contributed to the vessel build-up, sources said.
Ten ships were returning from India, Pakistan, or Bangladesh, three from China, South Korea, and Singapore, and eight from Mozambique, Kenya, or other ports in South Africa. Four ships were moored at loading terminals and berths.
The average deadweight tonnage of the delayed ships was 76,491 mt. Market sources estimate around 3.8 million mt of coal in stockpiles at RBCT Wednesday, having been around 4.5 million mt two weeks earlier.
“As far as we can see, the railings to [RBCT] had not changed for the last few months, and the equipment at the terminal is operating with no issues, so the reduction in stocks is likely due to increased shipping,” a South Africa-based market analyst said.
The benchmark 6,000 kcal/kg NAR grade of South African coal traded Wednesday morning in a sleeve transaction with legs at USD 91/mt and USD 91.50/mt FOB, April-loading basis, 25 cents lower than a similar deal on Monday.
Platts FOB Richards Bay 5,500 kcal/kg NAR price fell to USD 74.60/mt Tuesday, down USD 1.05 week on week as sell-side sources pointed to pressure on prices due to the lower Indonesian coal pricing, the main competitor for the South Asia import markets.
Sea News, March 22