Chinese ports are remaining tight lipped about multiple reports suggesting Australian coal imports have been banned. A host of media titles including Bloomberg, Platts and Argus have said Beijing has slapped a ban on Australian coal in the latest sign of ongoing political tension between the two Asia Pacific nations.
Bloomberg cited sources saying that Chinese power stations and steel mills have been verbally told to immediately stop purchasing Australian coal and ports have also been told not to offload Australian coal.
Splash reported recently that bulk carriers carrying Australian coal have been lining up at major coal ports in north China, waiting to unload cargo for around three months. The situation seems to have not been solved as AIS information shows most of the vessels are still anchored near the same ports.
Australia’s trade Minister Simon Birmingham said the government was seeking clarity from China on the alleged coal import ban while noting that coal flows to the country had been disrupted in recent years.
When contacted by Splash, officials from major coal ports Tangshan, Caofeidian and Huanghua declined to comment on the issue.
A note from brokers Arrow yesterday suggested any ban would be unlikely to last for long.
“China can find alternatives for thermal coal supplies, domestically and internationally, but it would struggle to replace Australia for its coking coal supply. We do not expect the recent ban on coking coal to be sustained in the long term,” the Arrow report stated.
With relations souring all year, China has already placed restrictions on other Australian products such as barley.