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No agreement on long-term Hunter coal export plan, says PWCS

Port Waratah Coal Services (PWCS) has said it is extremely disappointed that agreement on a longterm terminal access and expansion framework had still not been reached.
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The failure comes despite the PWCS Board holding an extraordinary meeting in early April and signing off on a revised version of the ‘Implementation Memorandum’ - a set of principles outlining how a long term access and expansion framework for export capacity in the Port of Newcastle could function.

At the meeting, PWCS accepted a number of changes from the memorandum it signed on 31 March 2009.

Newcastle Port Corporation (NPC) also signed the revised memorandum, however NCIG unfortunately failed to sign.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) had warned earlier that the ACCC approved allocation system to manage the vessel queue off Newcastle would be terminated unless there was an agreed Implementation Memorandum.

PWCS Chair Prof Eileen Doyle said the company was seeking advice on making approaches to the New South Wales Government to see if aspects of the framework could be achieved without NCIG.

“Allowing the exhaustive Coal Chain reviews and negotiations that have taken place over the past 18 months to go to waste is not an option for PWCS,” Prof Doyle said.

“The industry and the New South Wales Government have never come so close to ironing out the multitude of inefficiencies that have hampered the Hunter Valley Coal Chain for so long, and now is not the time to give up.”

Due to ongoing expansion activity, PWCS will have annual coal loading capacity of 113 mt in 2009, although constraints along the entire Coal Chain mean Newcastle is likely to have output that is significantly less.

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