January 25, 2019 Read More →

Weak global demand cuts coal exports from Australia’s Richard’s Bay terminal


Three-million fewer tonnes of coal were exported from the Richard’s Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) in 2018 as global demand for South African product weakened in response to high prices.

In a briefing on the annual performance for 2018 on Thursday, RBCT reported coal exports of 73.47-million tonnes for 2018 —4% less than the 76.47-million tonnes exported in 2017 and falling short of a previously-stated target of 77-million tonnes. On average the terminal received 26 trains a day in 2018 compared with 27 a day in 2017.

The reduction in exports is not because of any operational issues at the terminal but, rather, is a reflection of weaker global demand, said CEO Alan Waller. “Whatever has been railed has been shipped. [The reason for lower exports] is global demand; it’s market dynamics,” he said.

The Richard’s Bay terminal, which is owned by 14 major coal-mining companies, is one of the largest such facilities in the world and has an export capacity of 91-million tonnes. Coal exports are a significant foreign-currency earner for SA.

Nearly 82% of the coal leaving RBCT was delivered to Asia in 2018, with India being the largest market. Africa received 8% of the export coal and Europe procured 10.1%.

More: SA sells less coal from Richards Bay terminal in 2018 than in 2017

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