Monday, January 10, 2011

Shipping Counts The Cost Of Catastrophic Floods

Coal Exports Devastated as NSW Braces Itself
Shipping News Feature

AUSTRALIA – The first estimates of damages caused by the continuing flooding have started to appear in press reports as heavy rain spreading from Queensland into New South Wales is predicted. Rail freight carrier QR National say they cannot yet estimate the cost to the company as mines resume some activity after strenuous efforts to pump water from the coal workings, but logistics industry analysts are estimating the cost to the company will be around A$45 million, assuming the waters start to recede this week.

Logistics in the region have been devastated as 4,000 people have needed evacuating from the hundreds of kilometres of countryside inundated so far. Since we reported some companies trading under force majeure many more have had to declare the same terms as exports of coal fell by around half a billion Australian dollars each week. Politicians are estimating the overall cost of the disaster as up to A$5 billion considering the loss of production of crops as well as coal.

The effect of the cessation of exports via the Blackwater freight rail service to Gladstone Docks has meant bulk carrying vessels lying offshore awaiting loads whilst QR’s other three rail freight coal carrying lines, the Newlands system through to the Abbot Point Terminal near Bowen, the Goonyella rail system through Dalrymple Bay and Hay Point coal terminals, near Mackay and the Moura coal rail system to domestic customers and to Gladstone port are still operating.

In the general freight business, Queensland’s North Coast Line remains closed from Brisbane to Cairns, with flooding affecting services that transit into or through the Rockhampton region and services to south west and central west Queensland for grain deliveries have been halted because of flooding. QR National has launched a nationwide fundraising campaign among its 9,400 employees for the Queensland flood relief appeal with the staff fundraising campaign kicked off by a corporate donation of $100,000 by QR National to the Queensland Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal.

Photo: We have been here before. Government photo of the Queensland floods of 1974.