Coal service trims workforce

PORT Waratah Coal Services has axed 34 jobs as “part of a larger”, ongoing review to cut costs.
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Blair Price

The Kooragang Island and Carrington coal terminal operator said the redundancies were across the business.

“Port Waratah is just like any other service provider to the Hunter Valley coal industry – we are working very hard to ensure that the cost of our services is consistent with the very challenging economic conditions being experienced as a result of low coal prices and the strong Australian dollar,” Port Waratah CEO Hennie du Plooy said.

“As an infrastructure provider with unique obligations to provide terminal capacity to the industry, we need to strike an important and difficult balance at the moment.

“Right now, we are in a situation where we need to respond to the short-term economic conditions

affecting our industry, but we also need to plan for the long term, ensuring we are positioned to

deliver growth capacity should the industry require it in the future.”

The CEO said these decisions were not taken lightly or easily.

“Our priority, through this process, is to look after the welfare of our employees,” he said.

According to the Newcastle Herald, the 34 redundancies accounted for about 5% of the overall workforce with 12 operators, nine staff and 13 long-term contractors losing their jobs.

While Du Plooy reportedly said PWCS was exporting coal at the same rate as last year, he said the coal-handling charge had fallen from $4.50 a tonne in 2012 to $3.40/t in 2013 and to $2.80/t in 2014.

The jobs are expected to go via the voluntary redundancy process next month.