• 2023 January 18

    Coal trade: global statistics

    In 2022, total global seaborne coal loadings increased by 6% to 1.2 billion tonnes. However, it is still below the result of 2019. Sea terminals of Russia increased handling of coal and coke by 2% YoY to 206.5 million tonnes including the products of Russia and its neighbors. Meanwhile, coal exports from Russia fell by 7% according to Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak. IEA expects Russia’s coal exports to continue decreasing for three years. 

    Image source: Habco

    In the full 12 months of 2022, total global seaborne coal loadings increased by +5.9% y-o-y to 1204.9 mln t (excluding cabotage), from 1138.3 mln t in the full 12 months of 2021, although still below the 1275.6 mln t in Jan-Dec 2019, according to the latest Banchero Costa report. 

    The growth began in the second quarter. In 1Q 2022, global loadings were down-4.8% y-o-y to just 257.4 mln t, and down-20.3% from1Q 2019. In 2Q 2022, coal loadings were a strong +8.5% y-o-y at 313.8 mln t, and down-4.1%from2Q 2019. In 3Q 2022, shipments increased again to 317.2 mln t, up +6.3% y-o-y, and just-0.7% from 3Q 2019. In 4Q 2022, loadings were 316.5 mln t, up +12.9% y-o-y from 4Q 2021, and-0.6% from 4Q 2019.

    Mixed dynamics is noted when it comes to coal flows in various regions of coal production and consumption. Exports from Indonesia increased by +21.2% whilst from Australia down-5.0% y-o-y. Seaborne coal imports into the European Union surged by +34% y-o-y whilst imports to India increased by +14% y-o-y, and imports to China declined by-3%.

    Export leader 

    Indonesia is the world’s largest seaborne exporter of coal, accounting for 32.3% of the global seaborne coal market in 2022. Export volumes from Indonesia were relatively depressed during 2020 and 2021, due to disruption from Covid19 and from government policies favouring domestic consumption, but bounced back to an all-time record high in 2022.

    Image source: Habco

    Total seaborne coal exports from Indonesia in the 12 months of 2022 reached 388.9 mln tonnes, according to Refinitiv vessel tracking data. This was up +21.2% y-o-y from the 321.0 mln tonnes of 2021, and +25.4% from the low of 310.3 mln t in 2020, and also +0.7% from the previous record 386.2 mln t in 2019.

    The main coal export terminals in Indonesia are: Taboneo/ Banjarmasin (78.1 mln t loaded in Jan-Dec 2022), Samarinda (74.2 mln t), Tanjung Bara (32.1 mln t), Muara Banyu Asin (30.7 mln t), Balikpapan (27.5 mln t), Bunati (25.6 mln t), Adang Bay (21.8 mln t), Muara Pantai (21.4 mln t), Pulau Laut (15.3 mln t), Tarakan Island (9.7 mln t), Muara Satui (8.5 mln t), Bontang (8.1 mln t), Tarahan (8.0 mln t), Tanjung Pemancingan (7.8 mln t), Muara Sabak (5.9 mln t).

    China continues to be the top importer of Indonesian seaborne coal exports, accounting for 36.9% of shipments.  In Jan-Dec 2022, shipments from Indonesia to China were flat at 143.5 mln tonnes. However, Indonesian 5,900 GAR weakened to 144 USD/t (-7 USD/t w-o-w), following the decrease in demand and easing of restrictions by Chinese authorities on purchases of Australian coal, according to Coal Center Analytics (САА). At the same time, Indonesian suppliers report growing trading activity from Bangladesh and India, nevertheless the demand price is below the current levels and the tendency is mainly observed in the segment of Low-CV material.

    Russian terminals – 2022 results

    In 2022, sea terminals of Russia handled 206.5 million tonnes of coal and coke, up 2%, year-on-year, according to statistics obtained by IAA PortNews. Those volumes include both col produced in the Russian Federation and coal of the country’s neighbors, for example Kazakhstan.

    Image source: OTEKO

    In general, stevedores of the Far East and South take leadership in terms of monthly coal shipments. Baltic terminals are left behind due to embargo on coal supplies to Europe introduced on 10 August 2022. At the same time, coal and coke shipments from Russia’s Baltic ports resumed in October. According to the Institute for Natural Monopolies Research (IPEM), coal handling in November 2022 rose by 18%, year-on-year, which allowed to achieve a growth of 0.8% in M11’2022. 

    In January, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said that Russia’s coal production in 2022 increased by 0.3 percent having almost reached the level of 2021. Overall coal production increased a bit, mostly owing to supplies to the domestic market. They went up by about 8 percent, and exports fell by 7 percent.

    “The Far East is our main focus this year. We are using existing opportunities to expand the Baikal-Amur Railway, the eastern route in general. So we will continue resolving tasks set for the coal industry in cooperation with our colleagues,” he said when commenting on the coal industry development. 

    IEA: global coal consumption outlook

    Having shown a record growth in 2022, global coal demand can continue growing in 2023 amid the upheaval of the energy crisis. Basing on the current market trends IEA expects global coal demand to remain high through 2025 as declines in mature markets are offset by continued robust demand in emerging Asian economies.

    Image source: Habco

    The Agency expects Russia’s thermal coal exports to decline to 150 Mt in 2025, about 4.3% below the 2022 export volume. Apart from the European Union, major consumers of Russian coal are China, India and Turkey. 

    The global coal trade is undergoing structural changes with a shift from the Atlantic to the Pacific region which currently accounts for 80% of the global coal trade. Therefore, the highest demand for the services of Russian coal terminals is registered in the Far East. However, railway logistics cannot cope with that demand. Russian Railways cannot transport all coal volumes bound for the Far East ports via its Eastern Polygon. 

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Yana Wojciechowska