Gladstone Ports Corporations RG Tanna Coal Terminal. Despite exporting no coal to China for the first month since February 2011, export volumes through GPC operations were up in November.
Gladstone Ports Corporations RG Tanna Coal Terminal. Despite exporting no coal to China for the first month since February 2011, export volumes through GPC operations were up in November.

Gladstone Port exports strong despite China standoff

Escalating political tensions between Australia and China resulted in no coal leaving Gladstone Ports Corporation facilities during November for the first time in almost a decade – but overall export volumes grew.

Not since February 2011, has Gladstone Port Corporation failed to export a single kilogram of coal to China.

In comparison, in November 2019, China had 725,050 tonnes of coal delivered through Gladstone Ports Corporation controlled locations.

Regularly, more than three million tonnes of coal per month departs Gladstone via the RG Tanna Coal terminal, with China often receiving more than 1 million tonnes each month.

Despite the downturn in Chinese coal exports during November, GPC acting ceo Craig Walker said it turned out to be a record month for exports.

The coal ship Toro Orient departing Gladstone Harbour.
The coal ship Toro Orient departing Gladstone Harbour.

A spokeswoman said GPC had signed-off on another successful year, reflecting on strong exports, development and community milestones, despite the challenges of COVID-19.

“The pandemic has affected people and businesses on a worldwide scale, with GPC and the local community forced to adapt to new norms,” the spokeswoman said.

“Thanks to a dedicated workforce, GPC remains strong and continues to power Queensland’s economy, exporting more than 30 per cent of the state’s coal exports and 100 per cent of the state’s LNG export, representing almost 80 per cent of the port’s total trade.

“In November 2019, GPC’s trade throughput at the Port of Gladstone totalled 10,211,656 tonnes from 153 ships, which included of 5,895,720 tonnes of coal.

“Trade throughput in November 2020 was up, totalling 10,647,996 tonnes via 153 ships, which included 6,239,913 tonnes of coal.

“India, Japan and the Republic of Korea were the top three destinations for coal from the Port of Gladstone in November of both years, with export to China historically dropping at this time of year.”

Acting CEO Craig Walker said the GPC team showed care and resilience in the face of adversity with the month of November a standout for exports in 2020.

“November was our most successful trade month this year; these results are great news for this region and Queenslanders in terms of jobs, the economy and international trade,” Mr Walker said.

“Working with such a professional team of men and women everyday has made 2020 and its challenges, easier to forge ahead with.”

GPC exported more than 10 million tonnes in November alone through its three ports in Rockhampton, Gladstone and Bundaberg with coal and LNG the most in demand commodities.

“Our Ports have maintained their service levels throughout the year, managing the aspects of essential services of trade with the health and wellbeing of our employees,” Mr Walker said.

Gladstone Ports Corporation had a record end to the year despite no coal being exported to China for the first month since February 2011.
Gladstone Ports Corporation had a record end to the year despite no coal being exported to China for the first month since February 2011.

“Our team at GPC showed their resilience, adaptability and focus throughout the year, ensuring we achieved stable strong results for the people of Queensland – delivering a strong dividend for a second year in a row.

“We opened East Shores 1B to the community, employed new team members and we’re able to ensure that all our staff – permanent, temporary and causal – had stable employment when many tragically lost their jobs during the pandemic.”

GPC also supported struggling community groups through their Active August Community Beneficiary and through their Community Investment Program.

Mr Walker said in the New Year, GPC would remain focused on intergenerational thinking, planning and a strategy securing its position as the premier multi-commodity port in Australia.

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