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Three Coal Carriers Laden With Thermal Coal Leave Indonesia for Japan



By Takeo Kumagai and Masanori Odaka 

January 17, 2022 - Three ships loaded with thermal coal have left Indonesia bound for Japan amid uncertainty over three more coal carriers scheduled to leave in January, an official with Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry told S&P Global Platts Jan. 17, after Indonesian authorities eased a ban on exports.

Japanese power utilities are closely assessing the impact on LNG requirements of the cargo arrivals during the country's peak winter power demand season amid prolonged uncertainty over normalizing coal imports from Indonesia, according to market sources.

"We are closely monitoring the impact amid increased talks on Indonesia," a source with a Japanese power utility said. "Although our [exposure to Indonesia] is not so large, if this situation lasts in February, we might see impact on LNG among power utilities."

The thermal coal carried by the three carriers, which are likely arriving in January, will be used for thermal power generation as well as at industrial plants, the METI official said, adding that the ministry remains vigilant about ensuing developments.

Once they depart Indonesia, these coal carriers would arrive Japan in about nine days, when it will still be in the midst of power demand season. Japan, which imports more than 60% of its thermal coal requirements from Australia and 13% from Indonesia, has about one month's worth of stockpiles held by local power utilities and independent power producers.

The latest Japanese coal loading information comes as Indonesia has permitted 18 loaded thermal coal ships to sail, two weeks after imposing a blanket ban on exports.

Indonesia had banned all exports of thermal coal for the month starting Jan. 1 after state-owned power company Perusahaan Listrik Negara reported critically low coal stocks at power plants.