Slowing vessel arrivals and some export activity have seen coal inventories at northwest European dry bulk terminals decline 5% from last week’s multi-year high of more than 7.3m tonnes.
Stocks at four key Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp dry bulk terminals were pegged this week at 6.96m tonnes, the lowest since mid-September but still more than 20% higher on the year.
A source at one terminal said vessel arrivals had slowed, but reloadings from stock onto barges – for shipment to inland plants – were also relatively low.
He also pointed to some reloading of stockpiled material for onward shipment to other destinations, including Black Sea ports.
At Rotterdam’s key EMO terminal, a coal-laden vessel was scheduled to arrive and discharge its cargo on Thursday-Friday, while another would be loaded with coal on Saturday-Sunday, according to port schedules.
“Reloads this year [at ARA terminals] are beyond 500,000t,” said an energy strategist with a European trading house.
Of the total inventories, the EMO terminal had 3.6m tonnes in stock – down 200,000t on the week – while Rotterdam’s smaller EBS terminal had 415,000 tonnes.
Amsterdam’s OBA terminal had 2.64m tonnes and Ovet’s Vlissingen terminal, near Antwerp, had 300,000 tonnes.
High port stocks have played a prominent role in pressuring regional coal prices in recent months, with the Global Coal Des ARA index pegged last at below USD 60/t, compared with more than USD 85/t at the start of the year.