Out of action

Abbot Point, Australia’s most northerly coal port, has been put out of action by a severe storm.

A strong squall reportedly blew the port’s only shiploader off its tracks.

Inspections are underway on the shiploader and wharf area to determine the extent of repair works required.

Officials at the port, which is located in central Queensland, say the loader is going to be out of action for a few days.

The port has a capacity of 21mt. Abbot Point shipped 12.5mt of coal in the year ended 30 June 2008.

It comprises a rail in-loading facility, coal handling and stockpile areas, and a single trestle jetty and conveyor connected to a berth 2.75km offshore.

Capacity at Abbot Point is set to be expanded to 25mtpa by June this year under a major expansion project.

Ports Corporation of Queensland is also well underway with the second phase of expansion at Abbot Point to increase capacity to 50 Mtpa by 2011.

The expansion includes the construction of a second berth located 2.9 km offshore and a new shiploader with a peak loading rate of 7,200t/ph.

Trade winds