Gladstone Ports takes hit with coal price low

GLADSTONE Ports Corporation smashed the record for coal tonnage last year but its cargo-handling operations manager Allan Brown was far from popping the champagne yesterday.

Speaking at Gladstone Engineering Alliance's Major Industry Conference he said the growth in coal exports last year was driven by Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal coming online.

 

Gladstone Ports Corporation cargo handling operations manager Allan Brown gave a sobering presentation about future expectations at the port.
Gladstone Ports Corporation cargo handling operations manager Allan Brown gave a sobering presentation about future expectations at the port. Campbell Gellie

He did not reject the future growth projections for GPC but pointed to the coal industry, 60% of the port's exports, to demonstrate the business was no longer about expanding.

"Commodity price alone has had a significant impact on all of our clients and customers," he said.

He said the recent 100% spike in coal prices had not been predicted by any of the analysts he dealt with and the reason for the spike caused uncertainty in the industry.

"That increase was driven by the Chinese government changing their internal policies," Mr Brown said.

"They basically control the dynamic in the market. If you can predict what the Chinese are going to do then you might have a chance. But none of my customers can at this stage.

"I don't want it to sound too much doom and gloom because it's not but it's going to be very different."



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