Macarthur chairman Keith De Lacy told the Australian the company had paid $A5 a tonne for demurrage last year and estimated the annual 100Mt of coal going through DBCT and the neighbouring Hay Point Coal Terminal cost producers half a billion dollars a year because of delays in loading ships.
However, DBCT told the newspaper only 58 of the ships waiting offshore were to be loaded at its terminal and that, since being upgraded, it was operating very quickly.
According to the report, Queensland Rail blamed the load-in-arrival-order system for causing coal companies to order more ships than their contracts.
Back in late July, DBCT was expecting ship queues to fall to a level in the 30s, despite increasing metallurgical coal demand from China.
“With the new terminal capacity, more reliability in the rail system and a return to more stable coal selling practices (selling to system capacity to avoid demurrage exposure), we expect the current queue to continue to fall,” DBCT general manager operations Greg Smith told ILN at the time.
With 39 vessels then in the DBCT queue, Smith said that for June and July, producers had accepted vessel nominations exceeding the terminal capacity, which is greater than the rail capacity.