Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Congestion at key iron ore load ports in Western Australia has risen to a 22-month high partly as a result of rain and flooding severely affecting iron ore production, railing and loading at the terminals of Dampier and Port Walcott. SSY’s Australian Iron Ore Port Congestion Index has leapt to 10.9 days from 6.0 days last week. Furthermore, disruption at both ports is likely to persist over the coming weeks, with Rio Tinto advising that railings will only partially resume from 28 February, and local agents reporting that some berths will be closed for significant spells over the coming weeks.
In contrast, the SSY Australian Coal Port Congestion Index has slipped to 5.4 days, the lowest since November 2005. Finally, a surge of grain cargoes (primarily wheat) from Western Australian ports has led to a build-up of tonnage at Albany, Esperance, Geraldton and Kwinana. Currently 29 Handysize/max vessels are waiting to berth at the four terminals.