Indonesia port graft investigation disrupting coal shipments – by Fergus Jensen and Henning Gloystein (Reuters U.S. – March 22, 2017)

Indonesia is cracking down on corruption and widespread graft at some of its top coal export hubs, disrupting shipments to destinations across Asia.

Indonesia is the world’s top exporter of thermal coal, still the main feedstock for global power generation. Interruptions to coal’s output and shipment can impact seaborne prices of the fuel as well as wholesale electricity markets.

The investigations that began on Friday are targeting port operations along the large anchorage area off Samarinda in East Kalimantan, officials said on Wednesday, delaying ships waiting to load new supplies from the region’s mines.

Police initially raided four port facilities, including the Samudra Sejahtera Stevedores Cooperative (Komura) office, a Transportation Ministry statement said, based on allegations of “blackmail, corruption, money laundering, and thuggery”.

“We are cracking down on patterns linked to illegal fees,” Transportation Ministry spokesman J. A. Barata told Reuters. Almost 30 large dry-bulk ships are waiting offshore Samarinda to load coal, according to shipping data in Thomson Reuters Eikon. The data shows that some of the ships have been waiting to load coal since late February.

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