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Over 100 coal-laden ships lie idle off Chinese ports as import restrictions bite

S&P Global Platts C-flow vessel tracking software showed 102 ships loaded with coal were stationary off the southern and eastern coasts of China Tuesday, up sharply from around 36 in mid-September.

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The sharp rise follows the introduction in late August of restrictions on coal imports at several of China's major ports, including Guangzhou, Xiamen and Zhoushan, according to market sources.

The stationary coal ships include 10 that are lying idle in the Zhoushan anchorage, three in the Shanghai regional shipping queue, and two waiting in the Lianyungang offshore queue, according to C-flow data.

Market sources have reported extensive delays and longer queues for ships arriving to discharge seaborne-traded thermal coal at several ports in China.



Port authorities, including at Guangzhou, have, however, rejected claims that restrictions have been imposed on the discharge of imported coal at various ports.

S&P Global Platts' C-flow software can detect and track the location of individual cargo ships, their current status in terms of whether they are stationary or moving, the type of cargo, intended destination and estimated arrival time, and other key operational information.


ZHOUSHAN ANCHORAGE


The 177,800 mt Boston coal ship was waiting at the Zhoushan anchorage point, off the eastern province of Zhejiang, for clearance to enter Liuheng port, joining the Bulk Success, a 176,000 mt ship with the same destination that had been waiting in the Zhoushan queue since October 6, according to C-flow.

Also waiting at the Zhoushan anchorage Tuesday was the Navios Joy, a 181,000 mt cargo ship laden with coal that had an original berthing slot at Zhoushan port for October 18; and the Sunbeam, a 171,000 mt ship, carrying coal that had missed its original estimated arrival time at Liuheng port of October 10.


SHANGHAI QUEUE


The Agios Nikolas, a 57,000 mt coal ship, has been stationary in the Shanghai regional queue since October 22, overdue from its arrival date for Shanghai port of October 20.

Other ships carrying coal cargoes were parked at a number of locations off the coast of South China.

They include the Densa Cobra, a 180,000 mt ship anchored 78 nautical miles off the port of Xiamen that had an overdue arrival time for the port of October 15; and the Giuseppe Bottiglieri, a 175,000 mt ship, with an original arrival time for Xiamen port of October 16.

The small Capesize cargo ship FPMC B 104 with a capacity of 106,000 mt was stationary off the coast of southern China and had an original discharge date for Zhangzhou port of October 25.

Another small Capesize ship, the 99,000 mt Germ Sophia, was stationary 584 nautical miles off China's southern coast and had been destined to arrive at Haimen port on October 22.

Meanwhile, two ships were waiting in the Luoyuan Bay vessel queue, 140 nautical miles off Ningde in China's eastern Fujian province, according to Platts C-flow.

They were the Salford Quay, a 57,000 mt ship, with an overdue arrival date for Ningde port of October 19, and the Santa Anna, a 56,000 mt coal ship that has been queuing at the port since October 21.

--Mike Cooper, michael.cooper@spglobal.com

--Edited by E Shailaja Nair, shailaja.nair@spglobal.com