Gladstone Ports Corporation had more than 407,000 tonnes of coal exported through the port to China in October.
Gladstone Ports Corporation had more than 407,000 tonnes of coal exported through the port to China in October.

Tens of millions worth of CQ coal caught up in China standoff

CENTRAL Queensland coal exported from Gladstone estimated to total more than 500,000 tones is sitting on tankers off China with escalating political tensions being blamed for 82 Australian ships carrying more than $1 billion of product being delayed.

In the last financial year, a total of 13,115,699 tonnes of coal was exported to China from Gladstone.

Reports claim a total of 8.8 million tonnes of Australia’s second most valuable export resource is tied up in the political stand-off, with up to 1500 seafarers on board ships.

Earlier this week news broke that ‘due to political tensions’ between Australia and China 53 ships laden with coal were ‘in limbo’ at sea, unable to unload their cargo.

Over the past fortnight the number of vessels has quadrupled, as the Morrison government questions whether Chinese authorities are deliberately discriminating against Australian cargo.

As the ships are delayed unloading their cargo, market analysts have estimated it is costing tens of thousands of dollars per day per vessel, as they wait for approvals.

The strong-arm tactics by China have also hit the more than $800 million Australian wine export market, which supplies the Asian powerhouse with 37 per-cent of our annual wine exports.

Gladstone Ports Corporations RG Tanna Coal Terminal saw more than 13 million tonnes of coal exported to China in the last financial year 2019-2020.
Gladstone Ports Corporations RG Tanna Coal Terminal saw more than 13 million tonnes of coal exported to China in the last financial year 2019-2020.

After iron ore, coal is Australia’s second biggest annual export, earning the nation more than $53 billion annually.

The Federal Government has engaged in talks with the Chinese government in an attempt to secure passage for the valuable exports.

According to Gladstone Ports Corporation statistics, 407,499 tonnes of coal was shipped to China during October.

Based on information from the stockcargo website, coal ships can carry anywhere between 15,000 and more than 100,000 tonnes of coal, depending on the type of bulk carrier.

A Gladstone Ports Corporation spokeswoman said it was not appropriate to comment on the ships stranded off China, as it does not own the freight.

“Australia’s export trade is what keeps our nation’s economy stable and ports are the enablers in that process,” the spokeswoman said.

“As such, this is a matter for the relevant Government agencies and business that own these

commodities.

“Gladstone Ports Corporation’s (GPC) role is to ensure the prudent and efficient operations of our coal facility to continue to deliver for our customers – which in turn delivers results for our communities, state and nation.

“GPC is not provided with the sale cost of coal through our port.”

For more information on trade statistics please refer to the GPC website.

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