ABC News reported that Newcastle’s ship queue has hit 60 for the first time in several years, as global demand for coal continues to rise. In October, the Hunter Valley Coal Chain Coordinator warned of increased ship queues due to planned coal chain maintenance outages, combined with strong demand.

More than 50 vessels were waiting to be loaded at Port Waratah Coal Services Newcastle coal loaders at the end of November. Now there are 60 vessels, a number not seen for several years. A vessel arrival system allows only 20 ships to stay in the Newcastle anchorage at a time, with others anchored elsewhere or in transit. The ship queue is not expected to affect coal export targets through the Port of Newcastle. The ship queue should drop soon with the number of vessels waiting expected to be below 40 at the end of January.