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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Newcastle Resumes Normal Ship Movements After Storms

Monday, 25 May 2009

Newcastle Port, the world’s biggest coal export harbor, resumed normal ship movements after disruptions caused by storms that killed two people and forced the evacuation of 16,000 residents along Australia’s east coast. Restrictions on arrivals and departures at the northern port in New South Wales state have been removed, with 38 ships outside the harbor, spokesman Keith Powell said today by phone.
Flood warnings remain in place at four rivers, down from nine yesterday, and a number of communities and rural properties are isolated across the flood-affected area, the State Emergency Service said on its Web site as of midday local time today. Floodwaters are starting to subside and evacuation orders have been lifted after authorities received more than 2,700 requests for assistance and conducted 155 rescues, the SES said.
Newcastle port shipped 1.5 million metric tons of coal in the week ended May 18, according to Bloomberg data. A total of 2.5 million tons of coal was due for loading. There were 28 vessels off the port at May 18. Rio Tinto Group, Xstrata Plc and BHP Billiton Ltd. are among mining companies that ship coal through Newcastle.
Storm Fronts
Storm fronts moved into New South Wales after wreaking havoc last week in the northern state of Queensland, where two men were killed and about 30,000 homes were without electricity as the worst deluge since 1974 felled trees and power lines.
A severe weather warning with “abnormally” high tides and dangerous surf remains current in southeast Queensland, that state’s emergency services said.
The Australian government will provide disaster recovery payments worth as much as A$1,000 ($779) per adult to those affected by the flooding. Grants of up to A$15,000 will also be made to small businesses and farmers.
“The Australian government will continue to work with the Queensland and NSW governments and local community organizations to support individuals and families,” Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said in an e-mailed statement.
Source: Bloomberg