Russia's export coal rail traffic in Jan-Jun up 16.4% to 94.8 million tonnes (review)
Rail transportation of coal exported from Russia between January and June 2017 increased by 16.4% compared to the corresponding period in 2016 and totaled 94.8 million tonnes. The railway transport statistics show that the largest coal exports volume was hauled to the Far East regional ports and border crossings points.
According to Rosstat, in the first half of 2017 coal production in Russia increased by 7.3% (or 13.6 million tonnes), to 199.4 million tonnes. At the same time, production at Kuzbass coal mines, which account for up to 60% of total Russian coal production, rose 10% to 118.3 million tonnes. The largest output growth was at SUEK-Kuzbass – by 1.8 million tonnes and at Kizassky Open Pit Mine (VostokUgol MC) – by 1.7 million tonnes.
Despite the railway network overhaul carried out by Russian Railways (RZD), Russian coal export traffic in the six-month period rose 16.4% year-on-year to 94.8 million tonnes. The largest coal volume was transported to the Far Eastern ports and border crossings points. The direction is a promising one due to the steady demand for high-quality Russian coal in the Asia-Pacific market, where the coal imports growth is pushed by firm global market prices acceptable for domestic coal exporters, and by the PRC Gov't ban imposed on coal imports from North Korea. This encouraged Russian coal exports to Chinese consumers.
Despite the June peak in the railway network overhaul, export coal traffic during the period increased by 5.5% thanks to the commodity transportation to the following border crossing points: the Grodekovo station – by 50%, Kamyshova station – by 54% and the Khassan station – by 3.3 times.
Not only exports but overall rail coal traffic across RZD network increased in H1 2017 to 177.3 million tonnes (+ 9.4%).
Coal exports through Russian seaports in the first half of the year totaled 75.2 million tonnes (+ 16.2% y-o-y). Of the volume, the commodity exports via the ports of the Northwest region jumped by 27% to 26 million tonnes, through the ports of the Azov-Black Sea Basin – by 36% to 6 million tonnes, through the Far Eastern ports – by 8% to 43.2 million tonnes. Coal shipments through border crossing points with the Eastern Europe countries increased by 5% to 9 million tonnes, through border crossings with China – by 120% to 3 million tonnes, through the Khassan border crossing station – by 96% to 1.4 million tonnes.
According to the above figures, the Russian coal industry is one of the successfully developing sectors of the nation's economy. According to the forecast of the Russian Minister of Energy Alexander Novak, "coal production in Russia by 2035 could his 435 million tonnes milestone and exports may increase by 20%.”
If the RZD project for modernization of the Baikal-Amur Mainline and The Trans-Siberian Railway succeeds it will further boost the export potential of the transport corridor between Russia and the Asia-Pacific Region countries, including the export of Russian coal. Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that the investment program of the Far East should be integrated with the development of a transport cluster in the region, primarily the BAM and Transsib. According to the project approved three years ago, the capacity of these rail mainlines should grow by 66 million tonnes in 2020. At least more than 30 million tonnes of the volume will account for the Far East cargo shippers.