Rising coal imports from India could see the South Asia country overtake China as the world’s biggest coal import in 2015, reports said.
India is projected to import around 200m tonnes of coal this year, up from around 180m tonnes in 2014, according to Mayank Garg, Managing Director of consultancy Venerable Energy Solutions.
“There’s a possibility of exploding growth of imports… if logistical restraints can be managed then the market could explode,” Garg was quoted by Reuters at an industry conference.
He added that Indian imports could rise to 250m tonnes within three to four years if prices remained around current levels. Global coal prices have been down in recent years due to a supply glut.
China, on the other hand, is seeing a sharper than expected fall in imports. A Reuters poll showed that China’s thermal coal imports are anticipated to decrease by 52m tonnes or around one quarter in 2015, as the country seeks to support its domestic producers and address environmental concerns.
International Energy Agency (IEA) data showed China imported 229m tonnes of thermal coal in 2014.
Coal and iron ore account for almost two-thirds of the demand for dry bulk shipping, and China is currently the largest consumer of these two commodities.
Dry bulk shipowners had placed large orders for new bulkers during the shipping boom before the 2008 global financial crisis to cater to China’s voluminous
imports, leading to the oversupply of bulk carriers in the present day.
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