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Dry Bulk Market: Colombia Coal Exports On the Rise During 2024

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-Dec 2023, global seaborne coal loadings increased by +5.8% yo-y to 1,339.5 mln t (excluding cabotage), based on vessel tracking data from AXS Marine. In Jan-Mar 2024 the positive trend continued, with global coal loadings increasing by +3.2% y-o-y to 329.0 mln t, from 318.6 mln t in the same period last year. In Jan-Mar 2024, exports from Indonesia increased by +6.3% y-o-y to 128.2 mln t, whilst from Australia were up +8.5% y-o-y to 84.4 mln t. From Russia exports declined by -17.8% y-o-y to 37.7 mln t in Jan-Mar 2024, from the USA increased by +4.8% y-o-y to 21.9 mln t, from South Africa increased +5.3% y-o-y to 15.1 mln t”.

Source: Banchero Costa

According to Banchero Costa, “shipments from Colombia increased by +20.6% y-o-y to 15.4 mln t in JanMar 2024, from Canada down by -1.5% y-o-y to 11.6 mln t, and from Mozambique by -9.7% t-o-y to 4.4 mln t. Seaborne coal imports into Mainland China increased by +16.6% y-o-y to 94.0 mln t in Jan-Mar 2024, to India increased by +20.4% y-o-y to 60.0 mln t, to Japan declined by -11.6% yo-y to 38.9 mln t in Jan-Mar 2024, to South Korea -2.2% y-o-y to 29.7 mln t, to the EU down -49.0% y-o-y to 15.3 mln tonnes. Colombia is the world’s sixth largest seaborne exporter of coal, and the second largest in the Americas after the USA. Export volumes from this South American country have steadily declined in the last decade, as it was being penalized by decreasing coal demand in the Atlantic basin, and by its distance from the more resilient Asian markets. This however turned around somewhat in the past two years as Europe was forced to diversify away from Russian supplies”.

The shipbroker added that “total seaborne coal exports from Colombia in the 12 months of 2023 reached 56.4 mln tonnes, +1.9% y-oy, according to AXS Marine vessel tracking data. This followed a +0.6% y-o-y increase in 2022, at 55.3 mln t, and a +7.5% yo-y increase in 2021, at 55.0 mln t. In the first 3 months of 2024, Colombia exported 15.4 mln tonnes of coal, which was a +20.6% y-o-y increase from the 12.8 mln t in the same 8 month period of 2022. The vast majority of Colombian coal exports are loaded on the northern (Caribbean) coast of the country. The two main ports there are Puerto Bolivar, which accounted for 20.5 mln tonnes (36.4% of the total) in Jan-Dec 2023, and Puerto Drummond with 15.6 mln tonnes (27.6% of the total) in Jan-Dec 2023. Other ports nearby are Puerto Nuevo, from where 14.8 mln t (26.2 % of the total) of coal were loaded in Jan-Dec 2023, Puerto Brisa with 1.7 mln t, Santa Maria with 1.2 mln tonnes, and Tolu with 0.7 mln t. The only major port on the western (Pacific Ocean) coast of Colombia is Buenaventura, from where 1.1 mln t of coal were loaded in Jan-Dec 2023”.

Source: Banchero Costa

“Japan is currently the main destination for shipments from Buenaventura, with South Korea, India and Chile also receiving some coal from the port. Nevertheless, the main destinations from Colombia are of course in Europe and the Mediterranean. Coal exports from Colombia to the EU increased by +95.3% y-o-y in JanDec 2021, to 8.5 mln t. Then again by +99.0% y-o-y in 2022 to 16.9 mln t. Volumes then declined by -14.0% y-o-y in 2023 to 14.6 mln t. Shipments to Turkey however declined by -24.4% y-o-y in Jan-Dec 2022 to 10.3 mln t, and then by -40.8% y-o-y in 2023 to 6.1 mln t. Volumes to China were down -91.0% y-o-y in 2022 to just 0.3 mln t, but then rebounded sharply by +1945% y-o-y in 2023 to 6.1 mln t. Shipments to South Korea declined by -25.6% y-o-y in 2022 to 2.1 mln t, but then rebounded by +98.0% y-o-y in 2023 to 4.2 mln t”, Banchero Costa concluded.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

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