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Vessel queue at Richards Bay Coal Terminal drops to 17: cFlow

There were 17 ships delayed outside Richards Bay Coal Terminal in SouthAfrica Thursday, down from 21 the previous week, according to cFlow, S&PGlobal Platts trade flow software.

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High swells and wind in the area over the past few weeks have beenpreventing the normal operating schedule.

According to one shipping source, the weather is expected to clear bynext week, which could allow the terminal to handle the queue within severaldays, although the source added that the weather had been difficult to predictrecently.

Fourteen of the ships were originally due to arrive within the last week,with the remaining three scheduled to arrive from December 20-January 2.

The Capesize CSK Brilliance was originally scheduled to arrive at theterminal on December 20 and has been sat offshore since.

Nine of the vessels are returning from India, Pakistan, or Sri Lanka, twofrom Mozambique, one each from South Korea, Australia, Singapore, Kenya,Madagascar, and one ship is arriving from another port in South Africa.

Seven ships were moored at loading berths.

The average deadweight tonnage of the delayed ships was 80,4845 mt.

Market sources estimate around 4.5-5 million mt of coal in stockpiles atRBCT.

The benchmark 6,000 kcal/kg NAR grade of South African coal traded at$98/mt FOB Thursday morning, February-loading basis. This was the highestreported deal for this grade since 9 November 2016.

Platts 5,500 kcal/kg NAR price was assessed at $81.05/mt Wednesday, up$1.30 week on week.

Market sources said the high pricing for South African coal was notnecessarily caused by vessel delays, instead they pointed to bullish Asianmarkets and competitive bids for the less-liquid benchmark grade of SouthAfrican coal.

--Joseph Clarke,

--Edited by James Leech,