Commodities Import Europe

Europe shuns Russian coal in favour of new African sources

By Alex Stuart-Grumbar on June, 1 2022

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Alex Stuart-Grumbar

Sales Enablement Manager @Shipfix

Shipfix’s Commodity and Freight Insights – Europe shuns Russian coal in favour of new African sources

The Ukrainian-Russian War has severely impacted global energy trade patterns, not least European coal imports. New sanctions by the EU on Russian coal imports have decimated coal flows between Russia and Europe, as illustrated in the below graphic using Shipfix order data.


Chart A: European Spot Coal Orders from Europe  

Shipfix’s Commodity and Freight Insights – Europe shuns Russian coal in favour of new African sources-1

Chart A displays aggregate spot market coal orders from Russia to Europe  (based on the first day of the laycan). So far this year there have been 203 coal orders from Russia to Europe, which is three times fewer than the 637 orders circulated in the same months of 2021.


European countries have increasingly been forced to turn to coal in the face of tight gas supplies, whilst concurrently weaning themselves off Russian coal as sanctions escalate. However, European countries typically import over a third of their coal from Russia. These stems are ‘short-haul’ from The Baltic or The Black Sea, thereby both these dynamics have been positive for dry bulk ship demand, with Europe sourcing more coal from further afield. 
Shipfix’s order data shows traders are increasingly turning to South Africa to fill the gap left by Russian sanctions, with a considerable rise in spot Panamax and Supramax stems seen in Shipfix’s cargo order data set. This is despite the country continuing to suffer infrastructure-related issues, restraining exports from the country. Notably, there has been a rise in orders from other African countries, including Mozambique, Tanzania and Namibia. 
Shipfix data further indicates a rise in stems of Australian and Colombian coal marketed towards Europe over the last month (see Chart B), with these ships soon expected to be trading in the direction of Europe. This should add tonne miles for the larger non-geared segments.


Chart B: Spot Coal Orders by Exporter to Europe
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Leveraging Shipfix data has enabled us to share these unique insights on the reconfiguration of global coal trading patterns, revealing the scramble for new coal sources.


Shipfix data gives shipping and commodity participants a unique insight into commodity trade patterns, even prior to a ship being loaded or a trade being completed, unlike satellite tracking data. Shipfix’s proprietary dataset comes from our community of contributors, which includes some of the world’s largest shipowners, brokers and commodity traders. The dataset is uniquely structured from market tonnage and cargo orders, then anonymised and aggregated to country-level to protect the privacy of our customers. Shipfix is ISO-certified for data security and data privacy. 
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