A key piece of Newcastle's coal loading infrastructure could remain out of action for weeks, possibly months, after it was damaged in last Monday's storm.
One of Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group's two shiploaders was blown off its rails at the height of the tempest.
While the storm was felt across the wider Hunter, about 200 SES calls were received in Newcastle alone.
In addition to the damage to the loader, the storm forced NCIG to cease operating for 24 hours.
Investigations are continuing to determine the extent of the damage and to develop a recovery plan.
BHP, Yancoal, Centennial Coal, Peabody Energy and Whitehaven Coal, which jointly own NCIG, rely on the loader to export their coal.
The incident came just days after New Hope Coal boss Reinhold Schmidt warned that a La Nina weather pattern could lead to supply shocks in the Australian coal market due to the prospect of more cyclones and wet weather.
The Newcastle Herald reported in September that NCIG had received approval to increase maximum throughput from 66 million tonnes to 79 million tonnes per annum.
It followed Department of Planning, Industry and Environment approval to amend its 2007 planning conditions.
The company said the modification was necessary to accommodate increased demand for its unique service if needed in the future.
The application was made despite the fact NCIG expected to export no more than 55 million tonnes in 2020.
NCIG and the Kooragang and Carrington terminals operated by Port Waratah Coal Services (PWCS) shipped 164 million tonnes in 2019, significantly less than the 208 million tonnes that the three loaders are licensed to handle.
But NCIG's Statement of Environmental Effects said exports could hit 225 million tonnes within two years and that lifting NCIG's limit would help meet demand now that PWCS had shelved its planned T4 loader.