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Coal vessels await clearance to leave as Indonesia mulls ease of export ban

JAKARTA (CNA) – Indonesian authorities have yet to issue papers to allow 14 coal vessels to depart, a senior official said yesterday, as the government prepared to assess whether to further ease an export ban in the world’s biggest shipper of thermal coal.

The suspension was implemented on January 1 to avoid widespread domestic power outages, after state utility Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) reported critically low coal stockpiles, amid complaints that miners were not fulfilling commitments to supply fuel to the firm.

The ban has concerned major coal importers, like Japan, South Korea and the Philippines, which fear economic disruption at home.

There are currently about 120 vessels either loading or waiting to load off Indonesian’s coal ports in Kalimantan on the island of Borneo, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

All 14 loaded coal vessels that were given the go ahead on Monday to depart once verified by authorities, were still awaiting formal approval early yesterday, Transportation Ministry official Mugen Suprihatin Sartoto told a news agency.

The government said any resumption would be gradual, so it can assess how restarting exports might affect miners’ compliance with the so-called Domestic Market Obligation (DMO) rules.

Coal barges along Mahakam river in Samarinda, East Kalimantan province, Indonesia. PHOTO: CNA
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