Thursday, August 19, 2010

Coal Trading Business

During this recent weeks, I have been really busy  involved in a team work  with our group members  relating to a certain Coal Trade  Project. It is really exiting, interesting and frustrating  because there seems to be difference of manners and attitude in approaching the price settlement  of Coal that had been loaded on the Vessel,  for approximately 15,000,000 MT of Coal. 

The issue was that the Coal Quality spec was not reaching the spec but was not rejected by the Purchaser, and requested to be loaded to the Vessel, with  conditions  proposed by the Purchaser that if the Coal is below  5500 Kcal/GAR, the price will be renegotiated. 

However, when we as  Seller had followed the instruction to load the Coal to the Vessel for shipment, the Purchaser seems not having room for negotiation, and had keep on insisting  to decide unilaterally, for which purpose we as the Seller who had followed the instructions of the Purchaser to load the Coal,  feels of not being treated fairly, which also resulted several of the stockholders, suffers delay in payment for their rendered services.

The Purchaser had requested that the pricing of the Coal must apply CV prorated basis plus discount of 20%, which resulted the figure far below the market price of the Coal. We as the Seller had moved our position from just applying prorated basis with discount to applying the market price. 

Well, in doing Coal Trading Business, we have to be professional and also have to honor the commitment that we had made. In practice even though the Sale and Coal Purchase Agreement  had been signed, if one of the Party   particularly the Purchaser had waived their rights to reject the Coal Commodity which had reached the rejection point, and requested to load the Coal immediately to the Vessel,  subsequently, such instructions has to be treated as a legal contractual binding commitments, for which  we have to honor our wordings made through such email,  which suggested for negotiation on the pricing of the Coal,  which in average had shown a certain Gross Caloric Value that had  been be determined by the Independent Consultant mutually agreed by the parties. 

There appears to be Coal Pricing Index,  where there are several Coal Kg Calorie  Value Indexes, where according to the Indonesian Mining Association News, Indonesia, one of the major Coal Exporter  through  PT. Coalindo Energi (PT CE), will soon launch the Indonesian Coal Mining Index ("ICI")  for example ICI 1 to 3 ranging from ICI 1 GROSS caloric Value GAR 6500 Kg Calorie, ICI 2 - 5500 Kg Calorie  and ICI  3 - 5000 Kg Calorie, where there is a range of pricing deduction, if it falls between these range index. From our brain storming discussions, it indicates that we may  have several alternatives /options to either apply (i) the prorate basis to get the pricing of the Coal or (ii) deducting a certain percentage, or (iii) we just  seek the market price of such average Coal Kg calorie on As Received Basis (ARB). 

As a Business Lawyer who is a member of  the Professional Coal Trading Team,  we really have to anticipate how if in the real practice there occurs, condition where the Quality of the Coal did not meet the required spec quality and rather had reached the rejection point but from the commercial basis,  the Purchaser had requested to waive its right to reject the Coal and insist on loading the Coal to the Vessel, but do not want to open its room for negotiation on the Price of the Coal that had been actually loaded to the Vessel ( FOB) and delivered to the Purchaser and had reached the End-user  .

The Rainy weather, must also be taken into consideration, since the Naught of the Vessel had to be closed to avoid flood of water causing The Total Moisture (TM) contents in the Coal Increase dramatically. 

One of the issues that also  have to be taken into consideration is relating to Demmurrage and Dead Freight issue, particularly if the Inventory of the Coal in the Stock Pile,  either within the Mining Location or in the Stock Pile in the Port is not sufficient in quantity, to fulfill the agreed amount  of Coal Bulk to be supplied,   which could cause Demmurrage and Dead Freight Exposures.     

Well, those are some of the issues that has to be anticipated in the real world of trading Coal for shipment.                      

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