Indonesian Coffee Deliveries Increasing, but Hampered by Shipping
Deliveries of coffee from farms in Indonesia, the world’s third-biggest robusta grower, climbed again this week as the Muslim holiday of Idul Fitri nears, according to trader ED&F Man Holdings Ltd.’s coffee unit. But shipments are being disrupted by a shortage of vessels.
Bean arrivals were 16,000 to 17,000 metric tons, Winterthur, Switzerland-based Volcafe said in a report e-mailed today. That compares with 15,000 to 16,000 tons last week and 12,750 to 14,000 tons a week earlier. Indonesia is harvesting its 2012-13 crop that started in April.
Buyers of Indonesian beans for August and September shipments were paying a premium of $30 a ton to the price on the NYSE Liffe exchange in London, Volcafe said. That compares with $40 a week earlier.
But are there enough ships to move all that coffee? In fact, Indonesia is being hampered by both a lack of space for vessels, and a lack of smaller sized vessels which serve as intermediaries in exporting coffee.
According to Copenhagen-based A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S, the biggest container-ship owner, shipment disruptions have been going on for two or three weeks at the port of Panjang in southern Sumatra, Indonesia’s main growing area, said Martin Hartz Hagensen, a commodity analyst at the carrier. Maersk continues to service the port, he said.
“There appears to be a current shortage of vessel space to load containers at the port of Panjang in Indonesia as a couple of carriers that usually call there have temporarily stopped their services. Amongst commodities affected are shipments of coffee,” Hagensen said by e-mail today.
Coffee-bean exports from southern Sumatra surged 47 percent in July from a month earlier. Shipments from Lampung, Bengkulu and South Sumatra provinces jumped to 21,595 metric tons in July from 14,719 tons in June, according to data from the Lampung trade and industry office on Aug. 1. Exports were 18,875 tons in July last year.
Some shipments from Panjang are delayed due to overbooking of feeders, Volcafe, the Winterthur, Switzerland-based coffee unit of commodities trader ED&F Man Holdings Ltd., said in a weekly report e-mailed today. Feeder ships normally take cargo from smaller ports to larger ones. Their loads are then trasffered to bigger vessels for longer-distance voyages. The shortage of vessels may also start to affect the availability of empty containers, Maersk’s Hagensen said.
Coffee is usually shipped to international markets in burlap bags loaded into steel boxes, each capable of carrying more than 19 tons. Robusta coffee for September delivery was up 0.1 percent to $2,168 a ton by 4:39 p.m. on NYSE in London.