Europe imports more coal from South Africa due to the ban on Russian coal

European countries are looking for alternatives to Russian coal. Coal imports from South Africa’s main export center rose by 40% in the first five months of this year, more than in 2021.

South Africa’s Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) shipped 3,240,752 metric tons of coal to European countries by the end of May this year, representing 15% of RBCT’s total exports, up from 2,321,190 metric tons, or 4%, in 2021.

From the second week of August, imports of Russian coal into the EU will be banned as part of the sanctions against Moscow.

The Netherlands, Italy, France, Spain, Denmark, Poland, Germany, and Ukraine have already received coal from the RBCT this year, and some countries began importing coal from the RBCT after Russia invaded Ukraine.

The Netherlands is the fourth largest recipient of RBCT coal, accounting for 5.76% of the total. The country received no coal from the RBCT in January and February, but imported 1.27 million tons of coal in March, April, and May, with the amount increasing month by month.

France’s coal imports from the RBCT rose nearly sevenfold, from just 68,005 tones last year to 464,432 tones so far this year.

Spain, Poland, and Germany did not import coal from the RBCT last year. In the first five months of this year, Spain imported 355,250 tons, Poland 181,515 tons, and Germany 157,383 tons.

Japan will ban Russian coal imports. Since January, 388,249 tons of coal have been purchased from RBCT. This is almost double the tons purchased last year.

China, the third largest coal importer from the RBCT in 2021 with 6.09 million tons, did not receive any coal from them this year. But the figures show that the number of Russian coal imports has increased.

In the first five months of 2022, the RBCT exported 22,057,587 tons of coal. At this rate, the RBCT will see a further decline in annual exports after 2021 production was the lowest since 1996.

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