May 21, 2023 - Global seaborne exports have rebounded considerably this year, as more and more countries are turning to coal for their energy needs. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Banchero Costa said that “global coal trade has really picked up pace in recent months, and is now fully back to pre-Covid levels. In Jan-Apr 2023, total global seaborne coal loadings increased by a whooping +18.8% y-o-y to 417.7 mln t (excluding cabotage), admittedly from a fairly low 351.6 mln t in the same period of 2022. This was also higher than the 363.9 mln t loaded in Jan-Apr 2021, and the 379.7 mln t in Jan-Apr 2020. It was just a shade below the 418.3 mln t loaded in Jan-Apr 2019. In Jan-Apr 2023, exports from Indonesia increased by +48.7% y-o-y to 143.3 mln t, whilst from Australia were down -3.2% y-o-y to 108.6 mln t, from Russia were up +21.4% y-o-y to 61.3 mln t, from the USA increased by +25.0% y-o-y to 26.9 mln t, and from South Africa +8.9% y-o-y to 22.6 mln t. Seaborne coal imports into Mainland China surged by +90.6% y-o-y to 108.9 mln t in Jan-Apr 2023, whilst imports to India increased by +17.5% y-o-y to 67.1 mln t, imports to Japan by -0.4% y-o-y to 56.7 mln t, to South Korea by -0.8% y-o-y to 38.1 mln t, to the EU -4.1% y-o-y to 34.7 mln t.
According to the shipbroker “Canada is the seventh largest exporter of coal in the world. In 2022, Canada accounted for 3.8% of global seaborne coal shipments. Canada’s seaborne coal exports in the 12 months of 2022 declined by -7.6% y-o-y to 41.3 mln tonnes. This followed an equally strong decline of -5.7% y-o-y in 2021, and a -18.8% y-o-y decline in 2020. In the first 4 months of 2023, coal exports from Canada rebounded by +6.3% y-o-y to 15.9 mln tonnes, which was the highest for this part of the year since the 16.1 mln tonnes in Jan-Apr 2020. Nearly half of the coal produced in Canada is thermal and half is metallurgical”.
“Canada’s exports are primarily metallurgical coal. Alberta and British Columbia produced 85% of Canada’s coal. Canada exports about half of its coal production. Given the location of its mining resources, the overwhelming majority of Canadian coal exports are shipped from ports in British Columbia, on the Pacific coast. Of the 41.3 mln tonnes shipped in calendar 2022, 54.2% (22.4 mln tonnes) were shipped from Roberts Bank, 27.8% (11.5 mln tonnes) from Vancouver, and 17.9% (7.4 mln tonnes) from Prince Rupert. The vast majority of Canada’s coal exports go to Asia, which is still a significant consumer. In 2022, as much as 32.9% of Canada’s seaborne coal exports were shipped to Japan. In Jan-Dec 2022, coal exports to Japan from Canada remained flat with a +0.2% y-o-y growth at 13.6 mln tonnes. The second largest destination for Canadian coal is South Korea, accounting for 25.4% of Canada’s exports in 2022.
In 2022, exports from Canada to South Korea declined by -9.8% y-o-y to 10.5 mln tonnes. In third place is Mainland China which accounted for a 18.0% share in 2022. In 2022, shipments from Canada to China declined by -17.4% y-o-y to 7.4 mln tonnes, although this represents a correction from a +53.3% y-o-y increase recorded in 2021. The volume seen last year was still significantly above anything seen up until 2021. In fourth place was the European Union, with a 7.2% share of Canada’s coal exports. In 2022, 3.0 mln tonnes of coal were exported from Canada to the EU, down -3.7% y-o-y. In fifth place was India, with a 6.1% share of Canada’s coal exports. In 2022, India imported 2.5 mln t from Canada, up +24.4% y-o-y from just 2.0 mln t in 2021. However this was still significantly below the 3.9 mln tonnes shipped to India in 2020 and the 5.7 mln tonnes shipped in 2019”, Banchero Costa concluded.