News & Media

04 December, 2020

Australian Newsletter - Issue 655

CHINA TO ALLOW AUSTRALIAN COAL CARGO ASHORE DESPITE BAN
Source: Clark, Cang, Yang and Ritchie (Bloomberg.com)
China is set to allow a shipment of Australian coal into the country, according to a person familiar with the matter, despite a ban on such imports remaining in place as tensions between Beijing and Canberra escalate. A cargo of 135,000 tons of Australian thermal coal on the vessel Alpha Era, which has been waiting since late May to unload at the southern Chinese port of Fangchenggang, is expected to clear customs and is bound for a local user, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. It isn’t clear why the cargo is expected to clear customs, said the person. A separate person familiar with the ban on Australian coal, though not the Alpha Era cargo, said the order barring such shipments remained unchanged. The person with knowledge of the Alpha Era said customs didn’t explain why they were processing the cargo.  FULL STORY

IRON ORE, COAL MINERS HELP AUSTRALIAN SHARES EXTEND GAINS
Source: Pranav A K (Ruters.com)
Australian shares settled higher on Thursday as a rally in iron ore prices and a report that China will allow some long held-up coal shipments from Australia lifted heavyweight mining stocks. The mining index soared 4.6% to its highest in more than eight years, with disappointing output forecasts from Brazilian miner Vale SA adding fuel to an iron ore price rally driven mainly by robust demand in top steel producer China and partly by supply concerns. Rio Tinto, the world’s biggest iron ore miner, surged up to 7.2% to its highest since May 2008 and was the biggest boost to the benchmark, while Fortescue Metals Group jumped 13.9% to a record high. The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.4% higher at 6,615.3, extending gains into a third session.  FULL STORY

TSHD BRISBANE READY FOR PORT OF MACKAY
Source: Eldin Ganic (DredgingToday.com)
North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP) will start the first maintenance dredging program at the Port of Mackay since 2013. Member for Mackay, Julieanne Gilbert, said that it was an important task for the port, which saw 195 shipping movements during the last financial year, recording its second-best result of 3.17 million throughput tonnes, despite COVID-19. “Additionally, the project will support 20 jobs during the project from ship crew to surveyors – jobs vital as part of Queensland’s plan for economic recovery,” Mrs Gilbert said. “Making sure our ports and waters remain safe and navigable is vital to our region’s supply chain and its $17 billion economy.  FULL STORY

NEW CRANE HERALDS A CHANGE ON TOWNSVILLE’S HORIZON
Source: HellenicShippingNews.com
Move over Sugar Shaker, there is a new giant in town. Assembly of the first ship-to-shore crane purchased by the Port of Townsville since the 1970s is now underway. The Liebherr Super Post Panamax Ship-to-Shore crane is the final component of the Port’s $30 million upgrade to its multi-user cargo handling facility. Once assembled, the crane will stand almost 100m high, dwarfing Townsville’s current tallest structure, the Grand Chancellor Hotel, by approximately 24m. Painted in the Port of Townsville’s blue and gold corporate colours the crane will cut a striking figure on the city’s skyline. It also offers superior handling ability, with the capability to lift two 20-foot shipping containers at once equating to 70 tonnes.  FULL STORY

AGRICULTURAL EXPORTS FROM TOWNSVILLE TO CHINA FAST-TRACKED
Source: Jessica Johnston (NorthQueenslandRegister.com.au)
AGRICULTURAL exports will leave the Port of Townsville bound for north Asia every fortnight, with a shipping service adding a new container vessel to the route. Swire Shipping today launched its upgraded North Asia Express service with the addition of its newly built 2750 container vessel, Lae Chief. The enhanced service will increase Swire Shipping's shipping frequency into Townsville from 20 days to 14 days. The service will connect Townsville with north Asia and Papua New Guinea on a fixed-day fortnightly basis, which will be supported with three ships, each capable of carrying up to 2750 containers. Townsville Port's manager trade development Maria James said the increased service was a sign of confidence in the export market.  FULL STORY

AUSTRALIA’S LNG EXPORTS AT NINE-MONTH HIGH
Source: ArgusMedia.com
Australia's LNG exports rose to a nine-month high of 7.04mn t in October, driven by record shipments from the Queensland port of Gladstone. Total LNG shipments increased from 6.22mn t in September when the LNG plants at Gladstone were undertaking significant maintenance. The increase to 7.04mn t, which is just below the record monthly high of 7.22mn t set in January, comes despite the Shell-operated 3.6mn t/yr Prelude floating LNG venture remaining off line. The plant offshore Western Australia is unlikely to restart before next year, and has been off line since February.  FULL STORY

SODIUM CYANIDE SPILL SHUTS DOWN PARTS OF THE PORT OF BRISBANE
Source: Darren Cartwright (WeeklyTimesNow.com.au)
A berth at the Port of Brisbane was locked down this week after sodium cyanide spilt from two damaged shipping containers. The incident occurred about 8am on Wednesday and resulted in a 200m exclusion zone being constructed around one of the berths. A Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES) spokeswoman said scientists had determined the chemicals and the berth remained cordoned off. About a dozen QFES emergency vehicles attended the site as a precautionary measure, she said. “The chemical is sodium cyanide but the cause of the spill is undetermined,” the QFES spokeswoman told NCA NewsWire.  FULL STORY

FORKLIFT SUCCESSFULLY RECOVERED FROM PORT OF BURNIE AFTER FALLING IN
Source: Meg Powell (TheAdvocate.com.au)
A Toll container forklift was fished out of the Port of Burnie early on Wednesday morning.
The forklift had fallen off the end of the roll-on-roll-off ramp on Berth 4 on Tuesday morning while it was unloading Toll's Victorian Reliance II. The vessel completed its unloading and departed about 6.45pm on Tuesday, TasPorts has confirmed. "Following further assessments, the TasPorts Harbour Master cleared the berth for shipping operations to resume as usual," a TasPorts spokesperson said.  FULL STORY AND INITIAL REPORT

BHP IRON ORE VESSELS TO BE FUELLED BY SHELL LNG
Source: Nickolas Zakharia (Australian.Mining.com.au)
BHP has awarded Shell a contract to fuel five Newcastlemax bulk carriers with LNG. The vessels will be used to transport iron ore between Western Australia and China from 2022 and will be chartered by BHP from Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) on five-year terms. The bulk carriers utilise LNG bunkering which uses an LNG bunker vessel in Singapore to fuel the ships. The fuelling vessel  is operated by FueLNG, a joint venture between Shell Eastern Petroleum and Keppel Offshore & Marine, and is capable to bunker fuel at a 100-1000 cubic-metre-per-hour rate. BHP chief commercial officer Vandita Pant said LNG bunkering demonstrated the miner’s commitment to cutting emissions.  FULL STORY

FENIX RESOURCES LOCKS IN ACCESS AT PORT OF GERALDTON, EYES FIRST EXPORTS EARLY NEXT YEAR
Source: Lorna Nicholas (SmallCaps.com.au)
Aspiring iron ore producer Fenix Resources (ASX: FEX) has achieved a key milestone in advancing its flagship Iron Ridge project after securing access at the Port of Geraldton to export its ore. The company has executed a binding agreement with the Mid West Ports Authority which gives it a port allocation to export 1.25 million tonnes annually of iron ore using the Berth 5 shiploader. Initially, the agreement is for four years, with Fenix able to extend this a further two times for two years each. Fenix managing director Rob Brierly said the company had been liaising with the Mid West Ports Authority for more than a year in order to lock-in the current contract.  FULL STORY

DAMAGED CARRIER STILL IN PORT
Source: Geoff Vivian and Elise Van Aken (TheWest.com.au)
The damaged livestock freighter The Barky Pearl remains in Geraldton Port as the owners seek a means of towing it out of Australian waters. WA Ports minister Alannah MacTiernan said the damage to the vessel was “more extensive and difficult to correct” than originally thought. “The latest thinking now is that another large vessel will be brought in which has the ability to dry tow that vessel back to a port in Asia where it can be dry docked and fully repaired,” she said. “It doesn’t look like that’s going to be able to be done in Geraldton so the owner has indicated that they want to send a large vessel in and do a dry tow.” Ms MacTiernan said the crew had all been tested for COVID-19 infection.  FULL STORY

ENGIE AND YARA PARTNER TO DEVELOP PILBARA HYDROGEN HUB
Source: Blake Matich (PV-Magazine-Australia.com.au)
French Renewables giant, Engie, and Pilbara ammonia producer, Yara, have recently published a report on a feasibility study into the transition of Yara’s ammonia plant’s dependence on natural gas to green hydrogen. The report shows plans for the 10 MW solar first phase of what is to become a “Pilbara Hydrogen Hub”. The study, partially funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), began in February 2019 and has sought to investigate how the Yara Pilbara Fertilisers (YPF) plant can decarbonise through a large scale renewable hydrogen project. With the publication of the study’s latest report it is clear that Engie and Yara have developed a multi-stage Yuri Roadmap to produce renewable hydrogen through electrolysis via an large-scale onsite solar array.  FULL STORY

ANOTHER SETBACK AT AUCKLAND PORT OVER AUTOMATION FLAW
Source: RNZ.co.nz
Ports of Auckland has stopped the use of its 27 automated machines after one of the robots jumped a concrete barrier, hitting a shipping container. The automation part of its business has been halted while an investigation looks into how a robotic machine was able to jump a retaining wall, hitting a shipping container at the weekend. WorkSafe has been advised and is looking into the incident. The council-owned company is already under fire for major delays in clearing a huge backlog of cargo.  FULL STORY

LYTTELTON PORT’S NEW CRUISE BERTH OFFICIALLY OPENS
Source: Alex Smith (CruiseAndFerry.net)
Mayor of Christchurch Lianne Dalziel has opened a new cruise berth at Lyttelton Port in Lyttelton, New Zealand, which is the first purpose-built cruise ship facility in the country. Large cruise vessels have been unable to berth at the port since an earthquake in February 2011. The new cruise berth will now enable Lyttelton to receive cruise ships of any size, though restrictions caused by Covid-19 are currently preventing most travel. “The cruise berth has been delivered on-time and on budget, despite the challenges of Covid-19,” said Roger Gray, CEO of Lyttelton Port Company (LPC).  FULL STORY

AUSTRALIAN COAL WINS ATTENTION, BUT INDONESIAN EXPORTS TO CHINA HAVE FALLEN THE MOST
Source: HellenicShippingNews.com
There has been much talk in recent weeks and months about Chinese coal policy, particularly with regard to imports from Australia, after anecdotal evidence suggest Chinese importers have been told to shun Australian thermal coal. Chinese coal imports were certainly down in October, falling to 13.7 million tonnes from 18.7m in September and 25.7m in October 2019. This marks the sixth consecutive month in which coal imports have been lower this year than last. The drop in imports are not just limited to Australia. In fact, both in percentage and absolute terms, imports from Indonesia fell by more than those from Australia in October. Imports from the former fell by 75.4% (-8.6 million tonnes), whereas those of Australian coal fell by 60.4% (-3.8 million tonnes).  FULL STORY

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained herein, Inchcape Shipping Services accepts no liability nor makes any representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to its completeness, accuracy, reliability or suitability