SINGAPORE/BEIJING (Reuters) – Dozens of ships carrying coal and iron ore to China are stuck outside ports waiting to unload, according to shipping data, with traders saying harbor authorities are taking longer than usual to clear the imports with customs officials. Refinitiv data showed on Friday that more than 300 dry-bulk freighters in total are currently sitting idle, waiting to deliver into China. While dry-bulk ships carry many different commodities, most affected were those carrying coal and iron ore from Australia, according to the data and two bulk traders. While some congestion is normal, especially as China heads into a market shutdown for its week-long Lunar New Year holiday, a ship broker and bulk trader said the backlog had swollen significantly over the past week as dozens of new ships arrived while far fewer cleared customs. Two traders, who mostly deal with Australian coking or thermal coal, said several of their ships had been delayed clearing customs. “We don’t know why…but there has definitely been a significant slowdown in clearing customs, especially for Australian coal,” said one of the traders. The ship broker, bulk and coal traders all declined to be identified citing company policy. They said they had not… continue reading
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