Sugar ships still stuck at sea

The sugar loading terminal at Bundaberg Port has suffered a number of closures this year due to the weather.
The sugar loading terminal at Bundaberg Port has suffered a number of closures this year due to the weather. Mike Knott

AFTER damage from the Christmas floods closed the Bundaberg Port, the weather is still delaying the export of sugar from the facility.

With a mountain of sugar awaiting export in storage facilities at the port, ships are lining up out at sea to come in and start loading.

But a spokeswoman for the Gladstone Ports Corporation, which runs the Bundaberg Port, said the weather was keeping them out.

She said two ships were waiting to load, with a third expected to join them soon.

“There is a strong wind warning and the pilots have made the decision it’s too dangerous to try to bring them in now,” she said.

The spokeswoman said one ship was due to come into the port on Sunday, but the pilots had decided not to bring it in.

“They’re waiting for the strong wind to abate,” she said.

The spokeswoman said winds of about 25 knots had been blowing on the coast.

The other problem the weather may cause is a slowdown on the actual loading of the ships.

“If it’s raining, they won’t be able to load sugar,” the spokeswoman said.

“They can’t load sugar in the rain.”

But the situation isn’t looking to improve in a hurry, with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting showers on the coast until at least Friday.

“I’m sure Queensland Sugar is quite keen to get the sugar out,” the spokeswoman said.

Wind and wet weather delaying the loading of sugar ships is the latest bad news for the Bundaberg Port.

The port was closed for about two months early this year after the floods deposited debris in the Burnett River and caused severe damage to the river bed.

A dredge sent from Brisbane managed to clear the river for shipping at the end of February.

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