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Europe imports more South African coal as Russian ban looms

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A Transnet Freight Rail prepare is seen subsequent to tons of coal mined from the close by Khanye Colliery mine, on the Bronkhorstspruit station, in Bronkhorstspruit, round 90 kilometres north-east of Johannesburg, South Africa, April 26, 2022.Image taken April 26,2022. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Picture

JOHANNESBURG, June 15 (Reuters) – European international locations, scrambling to safe options to Russian coal, imported 40% extra coal from South Africa’s essential export hub within the first 5 months of this yr than over the entire of 2021, figures obtained by Reuters confirmed on Wednesday.

South Africa’s Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) delivered 3,240,752 tonnes of coal to European international locations by end-Might this yr, 15% of RBCT’s general exports, up from 2,321,190 (4%) in 2021, the figures confirmed.

Beginning the second week of August, Russian coal imports shall be banned within the European Union, a part of wide-ranging sanctions on Moscow.

RBCT didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. RBCT often supplies figures yearly, and doesn’t give a complete breakdown of export locations.

The Netherlands, Italy, France, Spain, Denmark, Poland, Germany, and Ukraine have obtained coal from RBCT thus far this yr. A few of them solely started importing from RBCT after Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb 24.

The Netherlands obtained no coal from RBCT in January or February, however imported 1.27 million tonnes of coal from the terminal in March, April and Might, with volumes growing every month. It was the fourth high recipient of RBCT coal, accounting for five.76% of whole volumes.

Learn extra: EU international locations hunt for world coal shares as Russian ban looms

France’s coal imports from RBCT jumped practically seven-fold, from simply 68,005 tonnes over the entire of final yr to 464,432 tonnes thus far this yr.

Spain, Poland and Germany didn’t import any coal from RBCT final yr. Within the first 5 months of this yr, Spain has imported 355,250 tonnes, Poland 181,515 tonnes and Germany 157,383 tonnes.

Japan, which has additionally stated it could ban Russian coal imports, obtained 388,249 tonnes of coal from RBCT since January, practically double the tonnage it purchased final yr. Learn full story

China, the third largest importer of coal from RBCT in 2021 with 6.09 million tonnes, didn’t obtain any coal from the terminal this yr, the figures confirmed, reflecting China’s elevated imports of Russian coal.

The surge in exports to Europe got here regardless of a backdrop of poor efficiency at RBCT, underscoring the missed alternative for South Africa as costs of the fossil gasoline shot up.

Poor upkeep, an absence of locomotives, and copper cable theft have eroded South Africa’s state-owned freight rail companies which transport coal to RBCT and different ports. Some miners are utilizing vehicles to get their coal to port as an alternative.Learn full story

RBCT exported 22,057,587 tonnes of coal within the first 5 months of 2022. At that charge, RBCT will once more see a drop in annual exports after its 2021 tonnages had been the bottom since 1996.

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